My name is Heidi Tumerman and my daughter is Rachel Manley. We share a passion for teaching and for helping those in need. We recently embarked on quite an adventure together. Rachel has been teaching at Ogongo Combined School in Namibia, Africa, since the middle of Jannuary 2009. I am planning to join her in May 2009. She is absolutely loving her experience there so far, but it did not take long for her to realize the tremendous shortage of educational resources and the need for a usable school library.
In a school of approximately 500 students, teaching grades 1-11, there is no access to a library for the teachers or the students.
In the United States, availability of printed educational materials in the form of books is often taken for granted. We have access to computers and the internet to offer us an endless wealth of information about every subject imaginable. This is not the case in most rural schools in Namibia. Most children have not had the simple experience of choosing a book from a shelf and being allowed to check it out, and possibly even taking it home with them.
The official language of Namibia is English, and yet those children and adults that are able speak and read English is a minority. The children need books to encourage them to read and learn beyond their basic classroom lessons. They need access to literature to help them expand their minds beyond the walls of the school and their small village and give them an opportunity to increase their awareness of the world around them.
The cost of establishing a library space, furnish it with shelves, tables, chairs, library supplies and books, is beyond the currently limited resources of the school, but it is not beyond the resouces of two very determined women, Rachel and myself!
With the help of family, friends, and community, we believe this is a project of unmeasurable value and could significantly change the learning environment of Ogongo Combined School.