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Your Help is Needed for Books in South Africa!

My name is Megan Hughes, and I am a US Peace Corps Volunteer living in a rural village in South Africa. I have spent the last year and a half working at the primary and secondary schools in my village teaching English and science. While I face many challenges on a daily basis – cultural differences, language barriers, being the only white woman in a black community – one of the greatest challenges is teaching with minimal resources. The primary school where I work does not have a library, and while the secondary school does, the library is filled with current and old textbooks only; there are no novels, pleasure reading books, or even general reference books available. How are all these children supposed to learn to read, learn a new language, learn to love education, when they never get to experience the joys of reading? Moreover, reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English are fundamental skills these children will need to succeed as productive members of South African society.

So, I am writing to you to ask for your help. I’m working with nine other Peace Corps Volunteers in South Africa to raise money to get a 40ft. container shipment of books from the U.S.-based organization, Books for Africa, to South Africa for schools in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces. Our project, which we call Siphumelela (“We succeed”), will bring over 20,000 books, including storybooks, math books, science books, and English literacy books, for less than $1 per book. Each of us will bring 2,000 books back to our schools to set up libraries, introduce leisure reading, and supply teachers with material to enhance their lessons. At my primary school, I plan on creating “book boxes,” stored boxes of storybooks sorted by reading level that teachers can carry to their classes for lessons and pleasure reading. This allows for the books to be used by all learners and teachers without having to build a library. At my high school, I will be receiving both pleasure reading books and reference books, including a complete Compton’s by Britannica student edition encyclopaedia, a resource the librarian has been dreaming of for years.

To donate, follow this link to the Siphumelela Project on the Books for Africa website: Under “Additional Information,” please write that you heard about the project from me. Should you find any problems with the website, please let me know ( (Please note: when you click on the link – it takes a moment before going through).

Please remember, every little bit counts: a donation of $10 will buy about 12 books! Thanks for your time, and I hope you can make a contribution.


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