Promoting Learning & Literacy in Uganda
Our Library Project fundraising is in full swing, and we are SO close to reaching our goal of $2500 — we just hit $2000 this this week! To help you understand why our library project matters, we sat down with Drew Edwards, Director of International Operations and Co-Founder of Pangea Educational Development, to share more about their history with the community and the value of introducing a new library at St. James Primary School.
**UPDATE: As of July 5th, 2017, we hit our target $2500 for St. James’ Library. However, the more donations we collect, the more resources the library will have, so don’t stop giving!
Tell us a bit about St. James Primary School.
St. James Primary School is located in Katale, Uganda. The school was founded a decade ago, with the mission to provide a more affordable and quality education than what was accessible at the local government schools. As one of the few entirely female led schools in the country, the school has grown from a dusty one-room schoolhouse to what is nearly a school that meets all national standards. St. James is currently looking to complete its library, to help reduce class sizes, improve literacy programming, and become a community utilizing resource.
When and how did the partnership between St. James Primary and Pangea Educational Development (PED) begin? What are the results of your partnership thus far?
PED’s partnership with St. James started at the inception of our organization. Inspired by the staff and community’s desire to provide an equitable education for their children, we worked to understand what resources would empower that mission. PED and the community around the school have since invested significant capital resources into school infrastructure, income generating activities, and staff development. This has led to a significant growth in school population, complete financial independence, and improved academic performance.
How has St. James grown since your partnership was established?
Since 2011, St. James has 3 times the student population and 4 times the staff.
Where was the idea for the library born?
The idea for the library was born out of three needs: the need to reduce classroom crowdedness, the need to build a separate structure to meet national standards, and the need for reading resources and a reading specific environment.
How will building a library at St. James change the school as a whole?
Operating a school in Uganda is as difficult as it is in many other places in the world. This school, in particular, is working to break the conventional norms and leave no children behind. To do so, is to make an already difficult job, incredibly complicated. The development of new classroom structures and the library will enable this process to accelerate in a unique way that will help the school register nationally and reduce testing fees, so that more children can afford school than ever.
The impact of having books and a reading space will help develop a culture of reading and literacy that has not existed before – this impact, if successful, will improve academic success and long-term literacy a significant amount.