Testimonial from Esperant Kazzembe

Esperant Kazzembe poses for a photograph.

Opening quote 

Esperant Kazzembe – 18 yrs. 11th grade

Just like they say, “It takes one man to change the world,” I would modify this quote by saying that it takes one book to hook children into reading.

Biography and a history of me
I was born on Feb 15, 1997 in Democratic Republic of Congo in a small town known as Goma. Both of my parents died in wars of 2003 leaving two of my siblings and me on earth. Life became hard at this moments, I was young but mature enough to feel the hardship that we all experienced in our parents’ absentia. Life did raced with us up to when my maternal grandparents sent our uncle to pick us up from where we were. We started living with our grandparents and joined school later on.

We peaceful lived in Congo with our grandparents, not until we had our first attack on Dec 15, 2006. It was around seven o’clock in the evening, our front door was knocked and we saw people with masks getting into the house and immediately killed our grandparents. Here is when we all run from the house and decided to leave the country to acquire for refuge in Uganda one month later.

Meeting Libraries of Love

We had challenges in Uganda throughout with my family as a foreign country but all this changed for me when I met a sponsor through Libraries of Love. I was very hopeless in school because I was always chased out of classes due to school fees. Not until I met Mr Dave when Madam Trudy brought a group of experts from America to come and install shelves for books at our school in 2010.

Here, I not only received a sponsor but also a library that was outstanding. We didn’t how it felt like to go to a library and pick a book of someone’s interests. Most books in the old library for my school were torn and old that we could not even borrow them. I started taking books for reading since I didn’t speak English that good. One book surprised me up to now, this book was titled Democratic Republic of Congo, I did not know much history about my country but surprisingly, this book that was written in America had all what I needed to know about my country. I became interested in reading more and more books up to when I left primary in 2012.

Our school improved in English speaking, rules of not speaking vernacular at school were introduced since most of us had improved by reading the books from Libraries of Love. We started using more dictionary words since we read different interesting stories with difficult words that we had to look up.

Importance of Libraries of Love in my life.

As I earlier mentioned, I was very hopeless and didn’t know how to continue with school since my grandmother did not have enough money to pay for my school fees. Had it not been God bringing me a sponsor, I could have dropped long time ago, and maybe I could not able to be here today. My sponsor and his wife supported me, not only with school fee but also with so many unmentioned things. Books from libraries of Love Changed me just like they are changing lives in Uganda.

I admire Madam Trudy’s heart and love for supporting the people in need. She risks to go deep into rural areas where there is neither security nor lights to just seek for the kids who are in need of education and put them in schools. She always asked for my school fees from Mr Dave and Madam Beth on time which she does for the rest of the sponsored kids, taking visits to schools and ensure the wellbeing of the Libraries.

I would wish if everyone is given the same opportunity that I was given by God to have a sponsor and books that everyone could read to stick with education to change lives down in Africa. I would like to thank all the sponsors of Libraries of Love because they are doing a great job for the needy children in school. Thank you. May God bless you.

– Esperant Kazzembe

Two elementary students donate collected books

May 2014
Two students from Laurel Mountain Elementary School completed book drives. Thanks to each for their contributions. Each wrote emails to Executive Director Trudy Marshall. Following are the notes:

Mrs. Marshall,
My name is Matthew and I am in the 3rd grade. I did a book drive in my neighborhood because I wanted to have books to put in the libraries in Uganda.  I made homemade flyers from Microsoft.  I passed them out the week before the drive started.  I went with my older brother to each house and collected books.  When I went to the house, they gave me books and the people could also choose a book from the cart.  I wanted to encourage people to be readers.  I collected 5 boxes of books.
From,

Matthew

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(Pictured is Matthew with his flyer and some of the books he collected.)

Mrs. Marshall,
Hi, my name is Mihit and I am in the 4th grade. I did a IIM research project on Uganda. In January, LME was participating in the Walk to Read to raise money for Libraries of Love.  I wanted to research about Uganda so I would know more about the country.   I learned that 1/3 of the population can speak English even though that is their official language.  They have had the same president for 30 years.  His name is Yoweri Museveni.  Uganda has a rich supply of minerals and crops.  It is located on the equator so the weather is usually warm and humid.
I am wondering how you got the idea to build libraries in Uganda.  There are many countries in the world that are poor, so how did you choose Uganda?   I hope to talk to you in the fall when you visit LME.  Have a great summer.
From,

Mihit

“Walk to Read” provides books and funding

Laurel Mountain Elementary and Forest Creek Elementary held their “walk to read” events in January.

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Other schools plan walks later in the year.
Seventh grade language arts students at Cedar Valley Middle School began promotional writing for their school-wide Walk to Read fundraiser. Read about their venture into marketing for the May event in this article that ran in the local newspaper: “Cedar Valley students enter advertising world.”

The walks honor students in Uganda who walk long distances to school and read upon arrival. The walk idea was conceived three years ago by Jan Richards, principal at Laurel Mountain Elementary, where Executive Director Trudy Marshall served as librarian for 10 years. LME helped facilitate the first Ugandan library in 2005 and has continued their support through kind words, books, and funding each year.

For two weeks preceding the walk LME students collected donations from family and friends, brought them to school on walk day, and then celebrated with “walk to read” programs.

Dell Volunteers – Summer/Fall 2015

dell_20151120These ladies from the Dell M&A group volunteered Nov 20.   From left, are Lydia, Kristen, Cymone, and Jo. Thanks for your enthusiastic support.

Dell volunteers Nov 13, 2015Dell Regional Ops Cell Global Materials team volunteered on Nov 13, 2015. We appreciate all the volunteers who keep coming back.

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Volunteeers from Dell Corporate Development – the ‘Dream Team’ – stand in front of boxes ready to ship after preparing books on Aug. 28. We are always grateful for the volunteers who make our work in Uganda possible. Thanks, Dell friends.

 

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Thanks to Dell volunteers Andrew Northcutt, Joshua Foo, and Jessica Lam for helping August 14.

Love to hear Dell community volunteers laugh and exclaim as they prepare books: “I read this when I was a kid!” “This was one of my favorite books!” There aren’t words to express our gratitude. Over many years, endless volunteers have typed labels used on pockets and cards so Ugandan students can borrow. Especially nice is that many return over and over.

Dell Volunteers – Winter 2015

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The final Dell groups before this year’s shipment to Uganda.
What a fantastic job from all the volunteers, all year long. Above is the Regional Ops group that came on February 6. Pictured in front are Amanda, Diana, and Shyrla. Standing are Pablo, Kathy, Natalie, Daniel, Thang, Patricia Jamie, Joaquin, and Nate. Picture at right is the volunteer group from Dell IT who came on January 30 – Jen Erickson, Ken Farrell, Nikole Pope, Hazel Quigley, Ching-Yean Ho, and Aileen McGarrahan. Together the groups completed 23 boxes of books, leaving only 10 to be done by the Monday volunteers to complete this year’s shipment. Cheers to all the volunteers!

 

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Thanks to the Dell volunteers who came on January 23 to prepare books. They completed 12 boxes for 2015 libraries.Pictured above, from left, are Tiffany Wilson, Veronica Irizarry, Micaela Schmitt, Alissa Hans, and Christopher Dykes.

In the photo at left is Vijay Raj Yarijarla.

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Thanks to the 6 volunteers from the Dell Sales Ops group who came on January 16 to prepare books for the 2015 libraries. They completed 12 boxes. Yea! Pictured, from left to right, are Kristen Oneal, Rocco Pape, Jason Wenmoth, Sofy Tarud, Anna Montillet, and Vanessa Williams.

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Thanks to the volunteer group from Dell Global Custom Solutions & Operations that came to prepare books for the 2015 libraries. We greatly appreciated the continued support of Dell employees and their generosity.