We were incredibly excited to see our 2016 shipment sail for Lesotho! On board, along with primary school reading books for 29 schools - supported by our partner Dolen Cymru Wales Lesotho Link - were boxes of resources for our brand new series of reading clubs.
Having worked with Dolen Cymru for several years, it's great to be able to continue support for their literacy programmes in Lesotho. Between them, this year's schools are educating 11,500 children, most of them of primary-school age. Many of the schools have no electricity, and a full 20 have no form of library - something that we hope will change once School Aid's resources have been delivered.
We have long wanted to establish reading clubs in Lesotho, and with support from many quarters, our plans are coming to fruition. We are particularly grateful to Usborne Books at Home for their huge support for this project. Thanks to them, each club will have its own book box so that the children can take home a book every week, and children who have made real effort or progress during the sessions will be rewarded with a book, complete with a specially designed bookplate. Every child will also be given a personal, child-friendly bookmark designed by Usborne, with space for stars to record their attendance.
The first reading clubs will be rolled out in a group of primary schools in Mazenod, a suburb of the capital, Maseru. Under the watchful eye of our new Project and Reading Club Officer in Lesotho, Moso Ranoosi, each club will run for one academic term. Along with story time, there will be opportunities for individual reading, crafts, drama and book reviews, all of which we hope will convince children that reading can be fun - as well as improving their literacy skills. As soon as the clubs are under way, we'll be sharing photos on the website!