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Very nice profile of Ethan Greeley in The Jewish Chronicle.

When Ethan Greeley began to study for his bamitzvah at a suburban Washington DC synagogue, he already knew he wanted to aim his requisite community service project at helping children in Africa. He was particularly interested in doing something in Sebba, a tiny village in northern Burkina Faso where his mother grew up and which he had visited numerous times. Today, in that village, more than 5,000 miles away from his Maryland home, stands a new library for children and adults to gather, read and borrow books.

The library opened on April 9, 2016, about a year after Ethan's bamitzvah at Temple Emanuel. Thanks to donations from the Greeleys' friends and family; the Friends of Burkina Faso; the Temple Emanuel Global Mitzvah Committee and Merck (the pharmaceutical company for which Ethan's father, David, used to work), Ethan raised $20,000 to refurbish an old building and turn it into a library.

Best summer reading camp picture ever!

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Summer reading camp in Dimikuy village, Burkina Faso

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From Sanou Dounko:

Le lundi 27 août 2012 le camp de lecture de Dimikuy a fait son ouverture sous le très haut parrainage de Mr Zoubiéssé Doyé maire de la commune rurale de Béréba en presence des chefs de services de la commune et notables du dit village. La cérémmonie d'ouverture a eu lieu juste après avoir habillé les participants suivi de leur petit déjeuner. Le chef coutumier du village a souhaité la bienvenue à toutes et à tous puis a salué linitiative de FAVL surtout en les invitant à cette cérémonie ensuite invité les élèves à profiter des apprentissage du camp.

Le maire a pris la parole en livrant le message suivant :

Je remercie FAVL dans son initiative de création de bibliothèques source du savoir et qui sont nos centres culturels en faisant la promotion de la lecture et d'activités de sensibilisation dans plusieurs domaines. Ce camp de lecture dont je suis le parrain me donne un devoir de redoubler plus d'effort en impliquant la gestion des deux bibliothèques dans le budget  communale. La signature des conventions de gestion de celles-ci est desormais ma priorité car je veux être le premier à les signer. l'abonnement des élèves du cm2 à prouver l'importance de ces bibliothèques. Notre commune est classée 2eme au niveau provincial des resultats du CEP. La rentrée prochaine la mairie fera son possible pour abonner tous les élèves du primaire à la bibliothèque. Je remercie les donateurs qui nous soutiennent depuis l'installation de ces centres, de même que les volontaires du corps de la paix participant aux activitées d'animation durant ces camps de lecture. Les enfants sont notre avenir et j'interpelle mes frères et sœurs à investir dans leur éducation. Mes remerciements vont également aux animateurs, enseignants et bibliothécaires.  Je souhaite que pamis ces enfants des cadres  y sortent pour. Je vous remercie.
Une photo de famille avec les participants, autorités, animateurs a été prise.

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Thanks to GlobalGiving, FAVL has received $350 to put towards buying Aya de Youpougon books for FAVL libraries in Burkina and Ghana. We have already been able to use $200 to buy 12 books (one copy for each library) in the graphic novel series from Côte d'Ivoire in the beginning of June. See the post about it here. But we still need help if we're going to get the entire collection of Aya books to each of the 15 libraries. Click on this link to learn more about the project and to donate to the project. Every little bit is appreciated not only by us but the kids who visit the village libraries in hopes of reading books with familiar language with scenes from their own lives in African villages.

A million thank you's to those who have already donated, and stay tuned to the FAVL blog and the GlobalGiving website for regular updates on the progress of the project.

Lucas Amikiya FAVL coordinator writes from Sumbrungu, Ghana:

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Juliana Azagistore, one of Brianna's Literacy Class students came to the library on Monday 16th July around 9am to read. But unfortunately on her part the library was closed because Darius was absent then but I asked her to sit with me in the office to read.

She had brought her books. Some of those books were Mary Loses Her Teeth, Ghana Adult Health Reading Class etc. According to her they were told by Brianna to always come to the library to read so that they will not forget what they learned and also she said that Brianna will from time to time ask me if they come, for this reason she had decided to come and read and also to let me assure Brianna that she will always come to the library to read her own good.  

Juliana was the most serious and committed students among the Sumbrungu class. I did observe that she was always punctual at classes and would excuse herself when she think could not make it. She was also a good reader and even writing given her age. Brianna would agree with me on this. She was able to read most of the passages on Mary Loses Her Teeth with some little assistance from me. Some of this assistance was pronunciation of words like Hygiene, appearing, daughter, spoonful, powder, swallow etc. She read the whole book and practiced writing from the Ghana Adult Health Reading Class. She was with me up to 11am and then left back homeI asked her if she will be coming again and she said yes but not every day. She complained of the farming activities. She was happy and proud that she was the first person to come back to the library to read and was also lucky to meet me for assistance.

Thanks to Brianna for her good work. I will always encourage the literacy class students to imitate Juliana and not forget what they learn and try to learn more.   

Book Donation

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After the Race for Reading, many people expressed interest in learning more about FAVL as well as making donations. One generous donor came to FAVL with a large box of books that have been distributed to the libraries. The Race for Reading was a good publicity exercise for FAVL, and we successfully got the name out about our organization, even if a lot of people weren't able to participate in the race itself. Here's a couple pictures of the book donation.



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Thank you generous donors!

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Former FAVL volunteer Alison Yue (in Ghana in 2011) organized a fundraising activity in her business writing class. The project had to focus on a non-profit that "we share a special connection with" and Alison wrote that:

this being said, all I could think about was FAVL. This past summer working in Ghana with Jessica was a life changing experience and I have grown immensely by volunteering with your program. My group and I want to work with a program that has significant value to SCU, the students, and faculty. With your permission, our group would like to work with Friends of African Village Libraries as our beneficiary!
Today under my door I received $272 from the fundraising dinner at Zeni Ethiopian restaurant in Saratoga. Many thanks to all who participated!!!!!


Elisée wrote:
Donkoui just sent us the last update of the solar lights impact on the students whom are preparing their primary school final examination in Bereba:

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Le premier examen de l'école primaire CEP au BURKINA FASO a débuté le mardi 12
Juin 2012 sur toute l'étendue du territoire. Beaucoup sont les élèves du programme de recherche de FAVL ayant bénéficié des lampes solaires et candidats à ce dit examen.
Les élèves de l'école de KARABA ont composé dans le centre de HOUNDE. Ils sont
venus avec leurs lampes solaires pour s'en servir. Ils ont été logés dans une salle de l'école HOUNDE B sans lumière. Généralement dans ces cas de figure, les eleves apportent chacun sa lampe pour éclairer le logement et pouvoir réviser les dernières notions la nuit avant de dormir. Approchés, les élèves se sont exprimés sur l'utilité des lampes solaires qui se prolongent jusqu'à la phase de leur examen final du CEP .Je cite les propos d'un élève de KARABA : « les lampes que nous avons reçues l'an passé nous ont permis de pouvoir étudier la nuit et de passer en classe de CM2 et nos parents les utilisent souvent pour des activités à la maison. Aujourd'hui, nous les avons apportées ici pour l'examen du CEP parce que chaque année notre école est logée dans des salles de classe sans lumière. Nous avons vraiment la chance d'avoir eu les lampes. Nous souhaitons que nos petits frères en gagnent chaque année. »
Le maitre de la classe et la directrice de l'école qui ont travaillé dans le même centre
d'examen que moi ont dit que l'utilité des lampes n'est plus à démontrer car les enfants s'en servent sans frais. La motivation de certains enfants à apprendre est du à cela. Ils souhaitent que le donateur donne encore des lampes solaire à un maximum d'élèves possible.

Donkoui Koura
FAVL coordinator

Elisee wrote:

Wednesday was the annual book sale of the Library of the Santa Clara University. More than 8,000 books were on sale for only $1 each. Let's say that this was a huge opportunity for students, teachers and all books lovers. This year, all the benefit from this book sale will go to Friends of African Village Libraries. Also, this was for FAVL an occasion to show off our activities. Amanda and Mark, two former students of the study abroad program RWA, helped us to host an information table where displayed some micro-books made by the students and edited by FAVL, some pictures of the village libraries activities and life in rural area in Africa. Thanks to the dynamic team of the SCU Library, over $2,000 has been raised in this book sale, and the money will be used to acquire more children books for the village libraries supported by FAVL. Thank You, Santa Clara University!!


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Geoges Gnoumou : "Moi je suis forestier..."

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A reader visits Dounko in the FAVL office in Burkina Faso:

Le samedi 05 mai 2012, visite de George Gnoumou, Sergent des eaux et forêts, au siège de FAVL. 

favl-reader-georges-gnoumou.jpg"Après avoir arrêté mes études en classe de seconde au lycée Provincial du Tuy en 2007 moi et mes deux camarades avons fait de la bibliothèque de Bereba notre lieu de recherche et de préparation aux concours. Ceci faisant, nous trois avons réussi aux concours de la fonction publique. Moi je suis forestier, l'autre Agent technique de l'agriculture et le troisième est enseignant du primaire dans la province des Balle. La bibliothèque reste et restera dans ma mémoire et je souhaite que mes frères et sœurs en milieu rural font comme nous. La lecture est ma passion actuellement. Au nom de mes camarades je remercie tous les donateurs de même que ceux qui œuvrent pour la réussis des élèves en milieu rural grâce à la lecture. Les mots me manquent car celui qui ta donné le savoir ne peut pas être oublié dans ta vie. Que Dieu accorde à chacun d'eux longévité et surtout le succès dans leurs services ou dans leurs activités rémunératrices afin de soutenir l'éducation complémentaire en milieu rural."
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FAVL Blog

Books, reading, and libraries relevant to Africa by Michael Kevane, co-Director of FAVL and economist at Santa Clara University.

Other contributors include Kate Parry, FAVL-East Africa director, FAVL Burkina Faso representative Koura Donkoui, FAVL Burkina Faso program manager Krystle Nanema, and FAVL friends Emilie Crofton and Elisee Sare.

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