Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bennett's Mill Students Create Books for Uganda School

Students in Joliene Price’s language arts class show off the grammar books they created for Onono Memorial College in Gulu, Uganda

Approximately 550 student-created instructional books from Bennett’s Mill Middle School in Fayetteville are being used by children at Onono Memorial College, a school near Gulu, Uganda that serves students from 12-24 years of age.

Through the Books of Hope program, every student at the school wrote and illustrated books on English grammar and other educational topics. Art teacher Melissa Raymer spearheaded the project with help from the school’s English teachers.

“I thought this would be a wonderful learning experience for both teachers and students because the school desperately needs the books, among countless other things. Our students can learn a great deal about writing, Africa and conditions of children around the world through this program,” Raymer explains.

The people of the Uganda region have had their lives torn apart for over 20 years in a vicious civil war that has claimed the children as the primary victims. The children who have survived face many challenges, one of them being making up for lost years of schooling. Unfortunately, most of the schools do not have resources to adequately serve them; especially needed are books on English, a language skill they need to learn to become productive.

Books of Hope is a service-learning program where US schools are matched to a school in Uganda. Students write, illustrate and bind books that are sent to the sponsored school to be used as instructional materials for their classrooms.

“Even in the midst of a recession, most of us have nothing to complain about compared to the issues faced by the children of Africa. Our books are gifts of friendship and symbols of hope to children who, for a long time, were forgotten,” says Raymer.

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