Alfred Chidembo is a PhD graduate in Materials Engineering from the University of Wollongong. Upon completing his studies, he set out to collect only 2,000 books to send to Zimbabwe to help children in his village in Mudzi District, Mutoko. Five years later they have set up 9 libraries and shipped over 90 000 books.
Co-Author: Hosea Tokwe
Life , Hope and Opportunity: Reading changes lives
By providing rural school libraries, pupils have an opportunity to develop their literacy and consequently improve their vocabulary. While many believe that Aussie Books For Zim is about books, it is much more than that.it is about life, hope and opportunity.
Achieving literacy is a problem faced by numerous developing countries due to the lack of reading material predominantly in rural areas where children have little to no access to books. By providing rural school libraries, pupils have an opportunity to develop their literacy and consequently improve their vocabulary. The rural school library should be the hub of information to enable equal access to pupils to help them achieve the desired level of literacy and numeracy. This paper enumerates the problems that hinder the achievement of effective literacy by highlighting the status of literacy in rural areas in developing countries. Failure to address the situation in rural schools will result in failing to promote the culture of reading and harnessing the power of stories to inspire and change lives. The reading habit is the gateway to effective literacy, a tool for empowerment that transforms children’s lives through exposure. The findings in this paper based on literature review and the author’s experiences from establishing nine rural school libraries in rural Zimbabwe over the past five years through the Aussie Books For Zim project.
Keywords: Barriers to literacy development; Developing countries, Challenges, Education, Rural School Libraries, Status of Literacy and Numeracy.