I’ve decided to start writing a little more often so as to try and share some of the stories and insights of the amazing people and places of my second home: Ghana.
Today, alongside a few other visits, Ellie (my new ‘Reading Spots’ accomplice for this week) and I, went to the Kalpohin community in Tamole, to meet Stephen and Lawrence, two Teach for Ghana teachers that I had (quite amazingly) ‘met’ on twitter, just a few weeks before. I had been tweeting about our book drive in the local Brighton community at my school, in which we collected over 5000 books to send out to our ‘Reading Spots’ in Ghana. Someone spotted my tweet and sent my tweet to Lawrence and Steven who forwarded me details of a book drive that they had simultaneously instigated to try and gather enough books to start a library in the school that they are working in (the Kalpohin Kamaria JHS, a government school in the outskirts of Tamale, in the Northern region of Ghana). It’s always amazing to meet people half way around the world who are doing exactly the same thing as you, but in the case of Stephen and Lawrence, with far fewer resources, and far fewer people in their local area able donate books towards their hope of creating a library.
I was quite amazed by the power of twitter: all it took was a mutual ‘follower’ to connect two teachers with a common goal: all collecting books from their communities, 3943 miles apart (the distance from Brighton to Tamole), yet all wanting to make an impact within school communities in areas of Ghana where being able to read and write is hugely important for furthering their education, and opening the wider opportunities that follow, and yet reading books are extremely scarce. We were so happy to offer them, as part of their book drive, some of our first ‘Reading Spots in a Box’ – an idea we have to provide a temporary (and more mobile) library to schools that we want to support, but cannot yet provide a community library for. We hope to rotate these boxes around different schools on a regular basis, to enable pupils to read different books, and also to provide educational equipment that will be useful in the longer-term such as globes, calculators, and science equipment.
It was great to hear of the teachers’ plans to set up a readers’ group and a debating club in the school – I look forward to working on ideas for developing reading strategies with them. We have a new idea to create a wassap group to link together all the librarians and teachers working with or in our ‘reading spots’ across Ghana, so that they can share ideas and collaborate on how best to share a love of reading and of learning. Social media certainly has a huge ability to bring people together with a shared goal- it has exciting collaborative power amongst people determined to make positive change in their societies. Today, is certainly an amazing example of that!