In May, Sevenoaks School students worked with students at 12 Kent and Sussex schools to collect, sort, stamp, pack and ship 25,000 books and sustainable educational resources for delivery in support of education in rural Ghanaian communities. Students in most of these communities missed nine months of school in 2020 with no online learning provision.
These books have now arrived in Ghana and this summer Cat Davison and Francis Yeboah will be making a 2000 mile journey to deliver them across 40 communities. Since 2015, EduSpots has delivered over 100,000 books, including many local text books and African fiction books, working with over 50 UK and Ghanaian schools in the process with a focus on critically informed active global citizenship education.
Stephen Tettegah, EduSpots’ Ghanaian Head of Literacy Development, commented: “This pandemic period has been very challenging for everyone, particularly for pupils and teachers in under-resourced environments. The gap in educational provision has meant that some pupils continued their learning when others did not. The annual EduSpots book drives makes it possible for students in 40 of our projects to access resources, sometimes borrowing them to read at home.”
As part of Sevenoaks School’s service programme, students in the EduLit group have also co-created a series of books named Kwame’s Adventures, working with students and teachers in Ghana. This has enabled them to learn about Ghanaian culture, whilst giving Ghanaian students the chance to create books that reflect them and their communities. Students and staff, led by English teacher, Ms Anne Durnford, raised £3000 to pay a Ghanaian illustrator and print 2000 copies of the first two storybooks, alongside several phonics books, which will also be delivered this summer, alongside over 3000 new books donated by Book Aid International.
Following receipt of the first edition of ‘Kwame’s Adventures’, which is set in Tease, one student commented: “I love the book because it talks about my community and this is the first time I am reading a storybook that mentions my community’s name.”
A local volunteer in Kalpohin commented: “If we want to encourage pupils to read then we need to give them books that mirror their world and capture their interest, this is what the book does and I believe more of such initiatives need spreading.”
A Sevenoaks student commented: ‘As someone born and raised in the UK, the abundance of relatable literacy resources had never been a privilege I had actively recognised, however now I am able to recognise how literacy resources are dominated by western culture and it motivates me further to look into diversifying specifically children’s literature.”
This is the second edition of Kwame’s Adventures:
These are the two phonics books Sevenoaks School students have created with the Ghanaian team:
Join our Journey
Alongside western books, local volunteers are particularly keen to receive African fiction and non-fiction books alongside local text books that relate to their syllabus. A community volunteer in Kalpohin, Mr Hamza, noted on receipt of local text books funded by Sevenoaks students in 2020 that: “Unlike the past when students were having difficulty accessing learning materials, the supply of locally authored textbooks to the library is a dream come true.”
In support of this cause, Cat and the EduSpots volunteer team are joining together to run, walk, swim, cycle and row 2000 miles as the book bus moves around Ghana. You can donate in support of the team, or join the team, at www.justgiving.com/team/eduspotsjoinourjourney.
Spots across the network will also be engaging in a literacy festival with local volunteers creating their own locally-led literacy events to promote reading in their communities.
You can follow the journey of the books around Ghana this summer on @eduspots on Twitter and Facebook, and @edu_spots on Instagram.