|Our English club on the porch of NGO Victory with our books from Darien Book Aid|
Last December, Abdoulaye invited me to teach an English class at the computer center where he works on the far outer reaches of Bamako. Abdoulaye teaches interested folks how to manipulate computers – from how to use a mouse to how to navigate the 'net – for a very reasonable price (about 2,500 CFA ~ $5 for one month of lessons 4x/week). The center also runs an internet café where people that live nearby can use the internet for super cheap (only 100 CFA/hour ~ .20cents!).
I reluctantly agreed to teach the class – I'd never taught English before and thought 'but how will I do it??' and while it has been a challenge teaching students with incredibly varied levels of English, some are studying at the FLASH – Mali's language school, others have never studied English at all, I am slowly learning to teach to the middle and use the more experienced students to help those with much lower levels. I rely heavily on TEFL blogs and lesson-planning sites and now, English on Wednesdays has now become an activity I look forward to every week!
A few months back our most lovely Peace Corps Resource Center manager, Mado, sent all Peace Corps Volunteers in Mali an email with information about how to receive free English-language books for English clubs from a group called Darien Book Aid. 'How convenient!' I thought to myself as I read the email, 'I know just the group!'
I checked out their website and found they've been donating books to English clubs for over 60 years. I got in touch with their donations coordinator about receiving books for the center and she quickly responded. She requested a description of the recipients (what kind of club, level of English, the types of books they're interested in) and how long I would be in Mali.
|Large bag of books from Darien Book Aid|
|Abdoulaye Bangoura, Manager of NGO Victory, opens the book bag|
|A little more!|
|There they are! Over 40 books in excellent condition|
A few weeks later I headed to the Peace Corps bureau and found a 15lb box of books waiting in the package room with my name on it! Inside were over 40 books in excellent condition ranging in topics from Beatrix Potter books to the big book of Questions and Answers. If you're looking for a worthwhile organization to donate to, look no further than Darien Book Aid. We're so excited at the center to start our new mini-library which we're in the process of beginning. Students who have attended English class at least three times will be issued a library card that they'll use to check out books. Then, they'll have a few weeks to read it at home before they can take out another book. If you have any ideas for how to run an informal library, I'd love to hear your advice!
|Bakari Coulibaly and Aissata Touré check out some of the books|
So, if you're a Peace Corps Volunteer or anyone else looking to help start a library with English language books for your English club, all you have to do is:
- Send an email to Darien Book Aid expressing your interest.
- Reply to their email with information about your English club.
- Patiently wait a few weeks and then pick up your books from the Post Office
- Write a thank-you blog post to Darien Book Aid!
|Thank you Darien Book Aid!|