Judith’s Reading Room opens two new libraries this week in Japan and Namibia.
Marine Moms contacted Judith’s Reading Room to request books for their sons stationed in Japan. Lcpl Gray Parish announced the opening of a Judith’s Reading Room lending library for his fellow Marines at a base in Japan. He carved space out of his quarters to house the boxes of books volunteer “Boxers” have sent his way. Since September 2010, Judith’s Reading Room has shipped 1,600 books to Marines in Iran, Afghanistan, the Republic of Georgia, Japan Guam and the Philippines.
A newspaper article about Judith’s Reading Room’s work around the world inspired members of a New Jersey church to contact the organization to help one of their members, a Peace Corps volunteer at Schlip Primary School in Rehoboth, Namibia, stock its deteriorating library.
In Rehoboth, south-central Namibia, a library of children’s elementary books arrived thanks to a collaborative effort between Judith’s Reading Room and members of the Flemington Baptist Church. Until now, the school did not have the resources to provide English books before fifth grade. Schlip serves 150 children from kindergarten to grade 7. English is Namibia’s official language but the people of Rehoboth speak either Africaans or Khoekhoegowab, a “clicking” language. Judith’s Reading Room’s donation of 269 books will offer children the chance to learn English starting in kindergarten.
Sunday school children at Flemington Baptist Church in New Jersey undertook a book drive and reached out to Judith’s Reading Room to supplement their collection. They also raised funds to help offset the cost of shipping books.
On Monday night, 20 volunteer Boxers poured into Judith’s Reading Room to select books the troops at our 38th consecutive Boxing Party. Half of the group decided to pick books for homeless female vets and their children who visit a shelter in Asheville, NC because we all felt the sting of their situation. We learned that each night, there are more than 80,000 vets without a home. Each night. Seven percent are females. Do the math – it’ll break your heart.
At this 38th consecutive monthly party boxing books for the troops, we also shipped 500 books to VA hospitals in NY, NJ and PA, to troops and children they serve in Kabul, Afghanistan, to Sailors on board the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, to Marines in Guam, Japan and the Philippines. We also shipped 269 children’s books to a Peace Corps volunteer, who teaches at Schlip Elementary School in Rehoboth, NAMIBIA.
All in all, 20 Boxers packed up 1,158 books at a cover price value of $10,534! What a huge gift to our troops, thanks to our band of volunteers.
On Wednesday, December 19th 2012, Judith’s Reading Room opened its second library in Albania in the historic village of Polenë, outside the city of Korçë. At the primary school there, teachers and students spent the last day of school before the winter break, organizing books and setting-up the English language library. The library will be used to help improve students’ reading skills. The school in Polenë serves about sixty students enrolled in all grade levels from kindergarten to ninth grade, and has a staff of eight teachers. Children have English classes two to three times a week starting in third grade.
In addition to enjoying a visit from Santa Claus, children at the school were able to spend some time looking through the school’s new library which included many interesting titles requested by the teachers. The children made signs expressing their love of reading, and were excited to finally receive the shipment of books. They were happy that Judith’s Reading Room was able to provide them with the books. Dennis Dias, a local Peace Corps Volunteer who coordinated the event, helped teachers distribute books to the children.
[note color="#b5a66b"]Please check out the Sunday Express-Times site, Sara K. Satulla wrote an awesome story on Judith’s Reading Room in the VALLEY Section’s back page in regards to the opening of this library ….. Judith’s Reading Room, Bethlehem-based nonprofit, opens its 45th library.
Zana Begollari, an English teacher in Polenë, gave a short speech commemorating the event, saying “These books are important to helping us communicate freely in English as a foreign language. Step by step, we must practice the English language. In these books are words we must use daily.” Fredi Mançi, another teacher at the school, explained “These books are new and different. We can all make use of them, the teachers as well, and there is a good possibility of improving our English skills as well in order to share the joy of these books with the children.” Ilir Filovani, the director of this school, said the school had a great need for the books and appreciated the gift.
The children remarked on the familiarity of some characters in the books like Sleeping Beauty and SpongeBob, and were motivated to start reading to learn more about them. One student, Christina, read a passage from her favorite book to the rest of the students present. At the end of the event, Ms Begollari led her English students to say “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Judith’s Reading Room had previously opened a library in the neighboring village of Qatrom.
New School Library in Albania Stocked with English Books
Students at Rakip Kocibelli Elementary School in the village of Qatrom, near the city of Korca in South-Eastern Albania celebrated the opening of their new school library made possible primarily through 100 English-language children’s books donated by Judith’s Reading Room. Today’s donation expanded the organization’s reach to Europe after its having established libraries in Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
Peace Corp volunteer Dennis Dias contacted the organization in August, having been referred to it by the American Library Association. Dias, based in Qatrom, spearheaded the international collaboration which included the Embassy of France, Darien Book Aid, Friends of Albania and Judith’s Reading Room. “I think this is a testament to what the people can accomplish when they work together,” said Dias. The school marked the occasion by organizing a party in the school’s new library room. Elson Barci, a teacher at the school, worked throughout the celebration checking out books to a line of impatient students. “The opening of the library is an important project for the school because it’s a good way of helping the next generation and developing capacity in the village. You can see the desire in the children’s eyes to see all these books,” said Barci.
Children decorated the room in preparation for the opening of the library with the American flag and a Judith’s Reading Room sign. Ten year old Sajmir, who stood in line for a book explained, “it’s my first time to see so many beautiful English books in one place.” An eager seven year old student approached a teacher and said, “I don’t know English, but can I take one? My cousin will explain it to me.” The faculty expects the new books will motivate students to read more and improve their English. Currently, grades three, four and five receive English lessons twice a week, and there are plans to expand English education in the coming years.