After our last stop, we sat in at a panel discussion at the University of the Western Cape. The topic was “Universities, Schools and Business Collaborations To Improve Literacy In Africa”. The panel included Patrick Plonski from Books From Africa, Gary Zelko from Merck, Prof Genevieve Hart from the university, and our own Paco Miller!
Before the discussion started, there was a short presentation by Professor Hart regarding libraries in South Africa, their importance, companies that help build libraries, library use, access and the book famine in South Africa.
Adding to what we already know regarding the screening and donation of books, it was very nice to get new perspectives from the panel. There was a word of thanks at the end from Professor Premesh Lalu. He also made some good points about about books and libraries, and the status of some areas of South Africa with little or or no book access and what can be done to remedy the shortages.
We had the pleasure of meeting Professor Lalu after the discussion and a guided tour of his school. It was the perfect end to a wonderful and life changing visit to the continent of Africa. We were greeted at every school with handshakes, presentations from students, snacks, and hot tea.
I want to thank every one from Better World Books, Invisible Children, Books for Africa, and Room to Read for making this trip possible. After seeing the amazing progress of some of the schools we have helped, how grateful the learners and staff were, and the presentations we have seen… I will always think twice about complaining after a busy day at work.
I’m speechless. We spoke with some children and adults that were speaking English with such confidence, even when it might have been their second or third language. It makes me realize even more that we could all benefit from learning another language. Again, thank you to all of our partners, hosts, drivers, and guides.