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Doha Donates Books to Arusha

By Chi-Yan Shang
Doha Donates Books to Arusha

The Learning Service Program at the American School of Doha (ASD) encourages all members, stakeholders, and partners of the ASD community to reach out and become positive, active global citizens. In doing so, ASD typically strives to foster student-initiated projects with a focus on either development, conservation, or education.
One of ASD’s partner projects is the continuing expansion of the St. Pius School in Arusha, Tanzania. When ASD students Lama Ahmad and her sister, Hana Sami, traveled to Tanzania in the framework of ASD’s spring break service trip, they participated in setting up an educational enrichment program for local students, leading games as well as arts and crafts activities. This initiative, which ran alongside a building project to extend a classroom block at the school, was led by Ahmad and afforded participating students a chance to learn about education in Tanzania from the teachers and students at the St. Pius School. St. Pius serves students on the outskirts of Arusha where the next nearest school is at a distance of 10 km.
One of the key needs identified was that of books, outside of government-issued textbooks. The ASD students conducted an assessment of the school while on site and found there was no library building or librarian. Once back at ASD, they decided to try to fund classroom reading sets that could be used both for literacy instruction and for independent reading.
Each year, the ASD library hosts a used book sale with the proceeds going to support a library or literacy project somewhere in the developing world. This year, the ASD library, under the direction of Head Librarian Linda Hoiseth, donated US$1,000 to purchase culturally and linguistically appropriate readers for the St. Pius students. Hoiseth and Sami curated the brand new books from Follett, a leading distributor for libraries and schools in the international arena. Follett, in turn, fully covered the cost of shipping the books to Arusha, where they arrived this August to students eager to start school.
ASD is hoping to further support this project by continuing its teacher training program in which an ASD teacher is sent to provide PD to members of St. Pius’ staff. In 2016, this effort was fully funded by the ASD Parent Teacher Association. It is the hope that in 2017, ASD will be able to send a teacher-librarian to provide training that will facilitate the best use of the donated books in line with current best practices in literacy instruction.

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