St John’s school students and staff have just packed a container-load of books and sent it on its way to one of the poorest parts of Zambia. Once there the books will top up the twelve school libraries set-up by the St John’s project in 2009 and stock twelve new school libraries.
With help from primary schools in the area, from Marlborough College and schools in Market Lavington, Pewsey and Calne, and from public libraries in Devizes, Marlborough and Pewsey, twenty-eight thousand serviceable books have been collected and dispatched by St John’s to the Bauleni area of Zambia, just south of Lusaka.
The total number of books collected for Zambian schools, adding together this shipment and the first one in 2009, is an extraordinary forty-six thousand books.
The project, sponsored by Big Yellow Storage in Swindon who have stored the books as they were collected, also found all manner of sports equipment, IT equipment and stationery packs to go into the container. And St John’s staff and students have raised money – for shipping costs and to sponsor four pupils and a teacher for a year in the Zambian schools.
Raising the money was a joint students and staff enterprise: students filled bags for shoppers in Tesco, staff made contributions instead of sending each other Christmas cards, and both staff and students baked and sold cakes. They raised over fifteen hundred pounds.
Anne Stokes, St John’s Learning Resources Manager, is very proud of what the school has achieved: “It’s absolutely incredible. Students and staff were all roped in to seek out unwanted books, to carry boxes and fund raise towards the shipping costs…It’s been a really motivating, whole school project and the students have been encouraged to learn more about a different culture to their own.”
The money raised also helped send sixth former Steven Payne to Zambia to meet the shipment and help sort the books. Steven is on his gap year and will assist Zambian staff in setting up the twelve new school libraries. Anne says: “It will be brilliant for him and brilliant for the Zambians.”