A new library will change these children’s lives. Colin Bloom wants to make this library happen but he cannot do it alone!
Location: Kwa-Zulu Natal
Challenge: In the late 19th Century, Tshaneni primary school was started by missionaries visiting the remote area situated in a rural part of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa. The school supports 210 children aged 6 to 13 years old. The children have access to a few donated storybooks and have read them all dog-eared. They truly love their little makeshift reading corner. Breadline Africa and Colin Bloom would love to encourage and nurture the children’s love of books by providing them with a beautiful library, stocked to the brim with books filled with adventure.
Colin’s story: My name is Colin Bloom and I’m 15 years old and in 10th grade. I live in New York City but I am a dual USA / South African citizen. In 2018, while visiting South Africa, I was walking down the aisle of a local grocery store with my family when I noticed that all the canned food had pictures of what was inside (I was used to cans that just had the name of the food). When I asked my dad why all the cans of food had pictures, he explained that a lot of people in South Africa could not read. When I researched South African literacy, I discovered that 78% of SA kids can’t read for meaning by the 4th grade and that only 8% of schools have libraries. Since books and reading were such an important part of my life, I was determined to do something. I believe that literacy is a fundamental human right. This commitment led me to found Libraries for Literacy. In 2020, I created my first library in Doornkop Soweto. Please see a short 4-min video about this project here.
During my last trip to South Africa, we visited a school in a remote rural village in KwaZulu Natal. The school is very under-resourced (pit latrines, lack of running water) and does not have a library of many books. I am determined to make this the site of my next library. I am working hard to establish this library in March 2022. I am in the process of collecting 1,500 beginner and intermediate books through donations from schools, public libraries, and individuals as well as fundraising. In order to provide Zulu language books, I am partnering with an organization called Room to Read in South Africa to purchase over 300 Zulu children’s books.
Since the school does not have a space for the proposed library, I am partnering with Breadline Africa to provide a shipping container that will be modified to serve as a library. I’m so excited at the prospect of creating a stand-alone library for the school and community but I need your help!
The need: A 6m library container will allow for the children at Tshaneni Primary School to have a dedicated space to read – to develop a love of reading … to lose oneself in a book. It is a haven from the noise and demands of home and a doorway to a completely different world.
Beneficiaries: 210 children from six to 13 years old.