When Phil, a trustee of a little bit of HOPE in the UK, found himself living in Busolwe for a year, he was drawn to the Busolwe Library. In this week’s blog he explains why, and introduces a little bit of HOPE’s exciting new partnership with the Library.
It wasn’t my love for books that drew me to the Library. Although, I did spend many hours browsing through its collection as I waited for meetings and training sessions to start! Flicking through Britannica Encyclopaedias took me back to my school-days, a visitors guide to the White House helped me finally get to grips with the layout for when a future US President invites me for dinner, and there was a sense of tragic irony when I discovered a book that provides an account of the notorious private military firm Blackwater, had been classified as fiction – if only it was.
Rather, I was drawn to the Library because it was a development hub – it was a place where members of the community came – both young and old – to read and talk, to plot and prepare for a better future. It was a place of hardworking hope.
Children came to learn to read. Young people came to study for their exams. Students came to use the computers. Students from Canada came and spent three-month on placement with the library – organising scholarship programmes and debating competitions and helping establish the primary school that was birthed out of the library.
Busolwe Library is where the women’s group that we work with to teach girls how to make sanitary towels is based. It is where Butaleja’s network of StraightTalk youth groups began. It was the birthplace of a little bit of HOPE, and until last month it was where all the board meetings of a little bit of HOPE (Uganda) took place.
In the UK, there was much disquiet when libraries began to close. Last year, the future of the Busolwe Library began to look a little uncertain. Firstly, the regular funding they have received for many years from a library in Canada came to an end. Secondly, we knew that we were about to appoint Ivan, the librarian who had taken the library so far over the past few years, as the director of a little bit of HOPE (Uganda)!!
Therefore we are delighted to announce that we are entering into a partnership with the library. We believe that the library is such an important community centre and has a vision almost identical to ours. We are also committed to supporting local organisations in the development work they are doing.
Initially we will be providing them with approximately £125 a month which will enable them to employ a full time librarian. (This might not seem like a lot of money, however in rural Ugandan terms it is good – the librarian will be paid the same wage as a teacher.) This will ensure that the library remains open all-day every-day and is able to continue to offer services and deliver educational programmes. The librarian will also be given a lot of scope to develop the library into the future.
Do you like the sound of Busolwe Library? Want to know how you could get involved? Here are four ideas:
1) Become part of our 20£14 team
This year we’re looking for 20 people to start giving £14 a month. This will enable us to ensure that this partnership is sustainable. We are also planning – if we raise more money – to enable the library to buy more books and employ an IT trainer. Give now.
2) Offer your time and skills
We think that Busolwe Library is one of our programmes for which we could apply for grant funding – for example, from trust funds. We’d like someone to do some research for us. So if you have a couple of hours to spare over the next month or so, have access to a computer and can use Google, we’d love to hear from you. We’d also like to find someone who could help us complete the application forms. Email us.
3) Buy one for the price of two
Every time you buy a book, give the same amount of money to a little bit of HOPE to buy a text book for the Busolwe Library.
And remember, if you go via easyfundraising.org.uk when you shop at Amazon (as well as hundreds of other shops), Amazon will donate the value of up to 1.5% of your purchase to a little bit of HOPE. Find out more.