Getting the right book into the hands of a child is key to help them engage with books and develop a love of reading.
As part of Global Literacy Day in September our team in Kitwe, Zambia spent the day with children at Roca Nkana School - a school for children with special educational needs. We brought along lots of books kindly donated by UK publisher Usborne. The multi-sensory books are especially designed for children with special needs.
Despite a wide community need, Roca Nkana School has few pupils because of limited classroom space, and very few resources.
|Mr Chilufya & school staff|
Head teacher Mr Chilufya believes every child should have an opportunity to receive an education so he converted a nearby old dilapidated building into self-contained learning units. These offer those crucial quiet spaces for children with special needs. The units have easy access, safe and clean toilets, a kitchen to help the children learn to cook (an essential life skill), a TV room with educational resources and a quiet lounge area for resting. Mr Chilufya hopes that this will encourage more children with special needs to come to school regularly and also give their parents the confidence to encourage them have an education.
Monica Mulenga, who runs our Book Bus project in Kitwe met several of the pupils whilst visiting the school and takes up their stories.
“We met with Jacob a 13-year old boy who since starting school has learnt to draw objects. He can identify and tell a story from a picture. Jacob is still learning how to write but his greatest achievement is that he can now walk back home unaccompanied. Home is actually very near the school, but he has to take a much longer route home around Kitwe as the noise and distractions on the shortest direct route would be too much for him to cope with. The books brought by the Book Bus have really given him lots more confidence to deal with new and challenging experiences’, says Monica.
|Jacob & Mwila love their new books|
Monica also met 12-year old Mwila.
“Mwila is a very shy child and won’t look you straight in the eye. To our surprise he was very excited to receive books and said he only stayed in school today because he saw Book Bus George”, continues Monica.
“He enjoyed the Usborne book “Hide and Seek”, having fun flipping the little gate to find a pig hiding. ‘Look, there’s another pig behind the gate! The others are drinking water,’ Mwila shouted out as he became engrossed in the book.
“Mwila has learned how to cook from his life skill class and being the first child of four he happily takes over the kitchen daily to cook for his siblings while his mother is at work.
“At the end of the Book Bus sessions we left a full box of engaging and useful books that we know the children will understand, learn from and love. We will continue to support this very special school in Kitwe with more Book Bus visits from our local team” concludes Monica.
If you're interested in helping us continue our work with children with special educational needs you can donate at visiting our website