An Oxford University librarian is collecting pens to help rural schools in Zimbabwe.
Anne Gerrish, who works in the Cairns Library (www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/hcl) in Oxford’s large John Radcliffe Hospital, is collecting pens, pencils and felt-tipped pens and sending them to a school librarian in Zimbabwe for distribution to rural schools where such things are unobtainable. The pens are mostly free pens given out by firms and charities, but she also sends pencils and felt-tipped pens that have been bought specially to give away. She has been sending them over the past two years.
The idea came when a friend of hers, a school librarian in Luxembourg, attended a conference in South Africa and met a Zimbabwean school librarian, Jackson. Jackson works with a trust which promotes development projects in South Matabeleland, including the Edward Ndlovu Memorial Library, Gwanda. From the library Jackson travels to disadvantaged rural schools in the district, taking boxes of books, encouraging children to read, and distributing the pens where they are most needed.
After the last set of pens reached Jackson, he wrote: ‘We are very grateful to your support. The levels of poverty and destitution here would make you think we live in another planet.’
For more about the Edward Ndlovu Trust, see www.buf.kristianstad.se/farlov/bibl/gwanda