Saturday, July 29, 2006

Global Fund for Children Helps Pay For Shola Children's Library

A second year of funding to help pay expenses for the Shola Children's Library has been awarded by the Global Fund for Children in Washington D.C. A small health grant will also allow EBCEF to continue a weekend water-for-health for forty of the poorest neighborhood children who don't have running water in their homes. Volunteer Sarah Fauerbach also wrote a series of health lessons for the children.

Due to a small health grant from the Global Children's Fund in Washington D.C., EBCEF is now able to provide washing on weekends for neighborhood children with no running water. Children gather to wash their clothes, shower and get their hair cared for in a special area of the book center compound.

The First Donkey Mobile Library Launched In Awassa

For several months in fall 2005, Yohannes worked on designing a cart and loading it with books purchased locally and carried from the U.S. by visitors Jeanne and Herb Smith from McPherson, Kansas. The majority of the funding for a first Donkey Mobile Library came from the Bergstrom Foundation, First Presbyterian Church, Neenah, Wisconsin and from John Wood and Hilary Valentine. Other organizations that have offered help with the Donkey Mobile Library are Room to Read, a nonprofit based in San Francisco and Biblionef, a Holland based organization Yohannes connected with at an IBBY conference in Cape Town.

On December 31, 2005, "Nigist Helina--Queen of all Donkeys of Ethiopia" came leading the Donkey Mobile Library, which was pulled by two donkeys. Yohannes reports that "Nigist Helina" was elegant. “She really looked regal,” he says. Guests and children greeted her with applause and shouts of "Long live the Queen.” EBCEF’s guest of honor, Weizero Fanaye, chairperson of Kebele 01 in Awassa where the Donkey Mobile Library will be serving, made a speech and cut the ribbon. Students of Ethio-American Friendship School entertained guests and children with traditional dances of the Sidam, Wolaita, Amhara and Gurage people, ethnic groups who live in and around Awassa.

Yohannes says, “Then ‘Nigist Helina’ led the Donkey Mobile Library out of the school compound to the major streets of Awassa. There was quite an excitement as thousands of children followed, shouting ‘Nigist Helina’ and ‘metshaf yisiten’ (we want books). The queen had an umbrella bearer, and people along the street marveled and admired the queen and the library. The chief of traffic police rode on his brand new motorcycle in front of the queen making the street clear for the Donkey Mobile Library. The news reporters were all at hand from ETV, The Reporter, Addis Admas, and FM Radio. The local FM radio announced the event several times during the day and the whole city was talking about this spectacle.”

Miss Universe-Ethiopia Pageant Goes to The Shola Children's Library

In April, the 24 contestants from the Miss Universe-Ethiopia pageant came to the Shola Children's Library to help celebrate book week!