Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Campaign for books in rural Romania increases children’s access to information

Source: World Vision Middle East/Eastern Europe office (MEERO)

In order to increase children's access to information and education, World Vision initiated a local campaign in seven high schools from Valcea County, Romania. The campaign, 'You read a book, give it to someone else,' targets children in rural areas, where it aims to enrich school libraries and stimulate students' interest in reading and participation in community life.

The campaign was initiated at high schools from a municipality where World Vision supports 30 children, who benefit from the Vodafone Scholarship project. These children volunteered their time to coordinate the campaign at their schools, where they explained to their peers the purpose of the campaign and delivered informational flyers.

To encourage those schools to proactively support the campaign, World Vision will award the child who donated the most books and the high school that donated the most books. The prizes will be offered in September during the schools' opening ceremonies to commence the new school year.

After books were collected from 29 May to 14 July, a team from World Vision sorted the books and distributed them to participating schools.

'This campaign was a great idea because it helps students share their knowledge through books, and we can see what students study in urban schools,' said Nicoleta,15, a student at Scundu School.

'We need those books like we need air. We have not had enough books for the pupils. These books are exactly what we need now – it is a rich book collection. World Vision helped us very much,' said the principal of Scundu School.

According to a Romanian Annual Statistic survey, 'More than half pre-university education units don't have libraries; most of these cases are in the rural areas. Moreover, the number of existing books from school libraries is reduced and depreciated. At the end of 2001 around 58,000 volumes could be found in the rural school libraries.'

'In most of the rural schools the libraries exist, but they consist of a small selection of old books, so they can't be used in the current school's activities,' said one principal from a beneficiary school.

World Vision staff in Valcea County developed the idea for the campaign after they identified many books in libraries that could be very useful to children in rural schools. They proceeded to identify what schools in the rural areas needed books.

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