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Building Libraries, Building Dreams in Zambia

February 04, 2014

Abigail, an 8th grader in Zambia, always dreamed of becoming a nurse but that career path always seemed out of reach. That all changed when Room to Read established a library at her school because she was now able to access books that could help her advance her education.

Abigail’s enthusiasm for the new library caught the attention of her teachers and classmates and they chose her as a pupil librarian, responsible for re-shelving books as well as the general cleanliness of the library room. For Abigail, this just meant having more time in the library and more opportunities to read!

Although at times she still struggles to read books in the local language, since the establishment of the library Abigail’s English-language fluency has greatly improved, allowing her to participate more in class.

“I am confident I can continue building on my dream career from the valuable information I obtain from the science books in the library,” Abigail says. “I’m able to participate actively in most of the lessons and wish to improve my arithmetic and local language skills as well. With the library books I am now getting the help that I needed.”

“I feel like I am on top of the world because the library is the key to my future dream.” Abigail Student

Abigail now shares the stories she reads from the library with her two younger cousins, Thomas and James. Through storytelling and simple arts and writing activities, Abigail has turned her home into a mini classroom. Thomas and James are now equally avid readers and have even started borrowing library books for themselves. For Thomas, a 2nd grade student, his goal is to read as many storybooks as he can so he can narrate some of them to his parents. One day he even hopes to be able to read aloud to everyone at a school assembly. Third grader James aspires to improve his English vocabulary in order to be the top student in class.

Every week, Abigail and her two cousins read at least one storybook to each other at home, sharing their dreams and encouraging each other to reach their goals. “I feel like I am on top of the world because the library is the key to my future dream,” Abigail says.

Read more about our work in Zambia.

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