South Sudan

“The Harold & Melissa Taylor Library”

Location: Nimule, South Sudan Map: https://goo.gl/maps/zPYzjum8Mit

Partner: Cornerstone Friends

Web: http://cornerstonefriends.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cornerstone-Friends-Sudan-126209020737628/timeline

VIDEO: https://youtu.be/4Rqw_vBSMfE

About:

Almost immediately after Traveling Stories became a bonafied nonprofit organization we were introduced to Seth and Sarah Trudeau, founders of a nonprofit called Cornerstone Friends that works with the people of Nimule, South Sudan to fight poverty at its roots by providing literacy instruction, teacher training, agricultural programs, and microbusiness opportunities. The Trudeau’s dream budget included money for a small library but it was about time for them to move to Africa and they had not raised enough. Traveling Stories stepped in and began collecting books and raising money to establish our first ever world library!

In 2010 we shipped 18 boxes and over 500 pounds of books from San Diego to Entebbe, Uganda. At that time South Sudan was not allowing any incoming mail. We hired a guard with an AK47 to help the Trudeaus transport the boxes of books the 200 miles of paved road and 80 miles of unpaved road between Entebbe and Nimule. Seth describes these challenging experience in his blog (http://cornerstonefriends.blogspot.com/2011/06/cornerstone-library-part-1.html).

Finally the books are safely in Nimule and it’s time to open the boxes. The children have never seen more than three books in their life. They seem to understand intrinsically that the 35 pound boxes they are handling are worth more than their weight in gold: the first box that each boy opens reveals its contents, and – without fail – their jaws drop and eyes widen.

In their blog, Seth and Sarah write: “The library becomes a source of endless fascination and word about it spreads among all the children. Before the week is out, you can’t walk from your house to the latrine without a child running up to you to ask if it’s time to go in the library. Once that door opens, the children – girls as well as boys now – set to work unpacking boxes, stamping books, putting books into baskets and then onto shelves, and – of course – finding a few minutes here and there to read and look and wonder.” To read the rest of the story, click here http://cornerstonefriends.blogspot.com/2011/06/library-part-2.html)

Update:

January 2015 – The younger children at Cornerstone Children’s Home are evacuated to Uganda. Resources are low and the Home must lower the max age to 15. Many of the older children are forced to move in with extended family. The political climate of South Sudan is too unstable to warrant the shipment of more books.

Background:

On July 9, 2011 South Sudan became the world’s newest nation.
In Sudan, war and famine-related effects resulted in more than four million people displaced and, according to rebel estimates, more than two million deaths over a period of two decades.

Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords. The final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years followed by a referendum on independence for Southern Sudan. The referendum was held in January 2011 and indicated almost unanimous support for independence. As a result, South Sudan became independent.

Cambodia

“Rudi Boa Library”

 Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia 

mbrary logoFounders: The Downtown San Diego Rotaract Club 

Partners: Attitude Centre for Education

Web: http://www.attitudeeducation.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AttitudeCentreforEducation/?fref=ts

About:

We’re all familiar with the feeling of struggling to understand a certain word in a novel, or to comprehend the meaning of a sentence when reading a book; however, a feeling we all know even better is that extraordinary and transformative one which comes next with the understanding of that word or of that sentence – the warm and empowering excitement of learning.

The Downtown San Diego Rotaract Club raised money to build a library in Cambodia!

Jane Murphy, a member of the San Diego Downtown Rotaract Club, knows a thing or two about the opportunities that come along with literacy and access to books. Jane and the Club learned about Traveling Stories and immediately became involved, regularly volunteering and acting as community advocates.

Years earlier, while Jane was still in college, she helped create a library in Tanzania. This experience showed Jane first-hand the importance and need for access to books in impoverished communities. Jane and the Rotaract Club were drawn to MyBrary, Traveling Stories’ franchise opportunity, which equips groups to raise funds to build a library in their name in an international community.

In less than a year, the Rotaract Club raised over $13,000 to build a library in partnership with Attitude Centre for Education (ACE)  in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. These efforts were lead by Jane and other Club members Iara Rocchi & Lyndsi Sherman.  During the summer of 2015 Jane traveled to Cambodia to meet with the leaders at Attitude Education Center, reporting back to Traveling Stories HQ. Together, they selected Rudi Boa Center in Borey Peace II community as the specific site of the new library.

This location was chosen purposefully because it will provide opportunities to residents who were evicted from their homes six years ago at Beoung Kak Lake and forced to move into the surrounding outskirts. These families are busy and hardworking, with the parents often away from the home all day employed at garment factories; the children of these families often attend free daily English classes at the Rudi Boa Center while their parents are away.

In a partnership with ACE, we hope that this new library will act as a catalyst to empower Cambodian families to further their education through providing books, increasing literacy levels, and inspiring a love of reading. The library is currently under construction, with hopes of being fully operational by the end of February 2016r. With this fast approaching opening date, the children of Borey Peace II could not be more excited.

These children love attending their daily classes at Rudi Boa and delight in learning this new, lively language. Young girls like Kim Ea will finally have the chance to do research on the subjects that interest her, and boys like Pheaktra will be able to fulfill his goal of reading every genre of book possible; these children are overjoyed at the idea of a library at school, and relish the idea of having access to new books everyday – it’s the realization of an idea that perhaps seemed impossible to them before.

In building this new library, we are quite literally making these students’ dreams a reality, as young Piseth notes that his dream is to “read more books.” This library will encourage a generation of young teachers, like PhyRom and Livouch, who are itching to continue learning, acquire more knowledge, and share that knowledge with their friends and family in the community. Working together, these children will change their communities and perhaps much more through gaining this access to resources, which would have previously been unreachable.

In providing books to this community of young and passionate learners, the establishment of the Cambodia Library will help to nourish this generation of children who could one day change the world.

Background:

Between 1975 and 1979 the Khmer Rouge entered Cambodia and killed a quarter of the country’s population. During the genocide, Cambodia lost its leaders, educators, and greatest thinkers. Cambodia regained its independence from the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and now has a much more stable government. The effects of the Khmer Rouge are still very apparent in Cambodian society today. Based on UNESCO data, the adult literacy rate in Cambodia is 78%, with a high correlation between illiteracy and poverty. Cambodia has launched a 2015 literacy campaign, with the goal of increasing literacy rates to 84%.

El Salvador

Location: Tunco, El Salvador Map: https://goo.gl/maps/dQ3ML2wKJ8C2

Partner: Remar School and Orphanage

Web: http://remarelsalvador.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/remarelsalvador

About:

In El Salvador, Traveling Stories partnered with Remar, a school and orphanage with about 320 students and 12 teachers. About 90 of those students live at Remar Orphanage, which is on the same grounds as the school. Both the school and orphanage are largely funded by donations from church groups in the United States. But Remar also generates income by selling tomatoes, eggs, and other handicrafts. The students who can afford to pay usually pay between $3-$5 a month. Teachers make about $180 a month.

Until 2011 the children at Remar had never been to a library or even seen more than a handful of books. The only reading material that students or even teacher had access to were text books.

In March 2011 Traveling Stories traveled to Remar with a group of volunteers and about 1,000 books. We renovated a storage room into the school and orphanage’s first library!

The library is run and maintained by the school’s staff. Teachers frequently take classes to visit the library to check out books for silent reading time. This is a new activity that students weren’t able to enjoy before.

Background:

Known for world-famous waves, cloud-forest trails and active volcanoes, El Salvador is Latin America’s most densely populated country. However, its natural beauty and warm culture is often overlooked because of stories of civil war and gang violence.

Between 1980 and 1992, more than 75,000 people died in a civil war between the right-wing government and a left-wing guerilla organization. Thousands more disappeared without explanation.

Although the war is over, El Salvador continues to be one of the most violent countries in the world with one of the highest murder rates. Much of the violence is attributed to gangs. IML’s official report for 2011 states that a total of 4,374 murders were committed in El Salvador the previous year, equivalent to a homicide rate of 70 per 100,000 population.

Nicaragua

Location: El Transito Map: https://goo.gl/maps/a9QuLJxCLFo

Partner: El Transito Centro de Artes  http://www.eltransitoarts.com/

Website: http://www.eltransitoarts.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ETCA.Nicaragua?fref=ts

Library’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ElTransitoCommunityLibrary?ref=br_rs

 About:

In the Nicaraguan fishing village of El Transito, a library was desired but because there were so many other needs it was not the highest priority.

In 2011 Scott and Hannah Key, young professionals from Texas, approached Traveling Stories about joining efforts to bring books to the village. Scott & Hannah were already connected with El Transito Centro de Artes (ETCA) and NICA, two organizations already active in the area, and coordinated efforts between everyone. Julie Sim Edwards, the founder of ETCA, donated a shed on her land to be converted into the library.

Scott and Hannah recruited friends Emily and Eric Hughes and the four 20-somethings moved to Nicaragua for the summer. They renovated the shed, built shelves and tables, bought books with money they raised earlier in the year and created the community’s first public library.

A parade through the village streets marked the library’s grand opening! The driver leading the parade announced over a megaphone, “Books for all! Library is open!”

Today the Library is managed by ETCA and visited by over 400 children and parents every month!

Background:

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America after Haiti. Roughly 4 million of Nicaragua’s 6 million people live in rural areas of the country. The Nicaragua government cannot afford to provide adequate education, health care and infrastructure to its citizens – and the lack of adequate support is most severe in rural areas.

In rural communities, it is not uncommon to see teenage girls who are pregnant or nursing a newborn. When you visit a community school, you will find students sitting in broken desks, using books that have missing, ripped and marked-on pages. When entering or leaving the city, you’ll notice that the roads, telecommunication and water-delivery systems are either nonexistent or in severe need of repair.

Philippines

Location: Cebu (No link for confidentiality purposes)

Partners:

10 Thousand Windows http://10thousandwindows.org/

My Refuge House http://www.myrefugehouse.org/

VIDEO: 10Thousand Windows: https://vimeo.com/124316094

My Refuge House: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOPYOUEsOHY&feature=youtu.be

About:

Traveling Stories is proud to partner with10Thousand Windows and My Refuge House, two organizations that empower young people who have escaped sex trafficking in Cebu, Philippines. Since 2012 we have worked with both partners to provide access to books at four location, two of which are run directly by our partners!

Here’s a little more info about each shelter site:

Library 1 is a is at a walk-in center run by some less than traditional Catholic clergy.  A lay-minister with the center conducts outreach activities in the dark alleys of Cebu City’s poorer red light districts.  He and a team of previously rescued girls go into bars that sell minors and encourage young girls who are being manipulated into selling their bodies for sex that there is another option.  These girls can come to the center any time for food and shelter.

Library 2 is at a government shelter run by the Philippines version of the Social Welfare department.  This shelter takes trafficking survivor referrals from other NGOs and police, often after buy-bust sting operations that arrest the men and women exploiting young girls (usually 14-17 year old) for sex.  This shelter’s house parent was trained by 10Thousand Windows’ staff to implement the Job Readiness Training program.

Library 3 is a home operated by My Refuge House. Survivors receive holistic care until they’re able to stand on their own again. Trained staff provide psychological services as well as job readiness training.

Library 4 is the 10ThousandWindows offices which serve as the central hub for all of the organization’s outreach programs. New groups of students use this space each year for job readiness trainings and to access advance resources as they complete their education and prepare for legitimate employment.

Update:

Our donations to Library 1 and 2 were one-time gifts. Our partnership with 10 Thousand Windows and My Refuge House is ongoing with annual book donations and occasional grants for special projects or scholarships.

Background:

It is estimated that 27 million people are currently victims of Human Trafficking. Various organizations have been successfully rescuing victims of trafficking and prosecuting perpetrators for years. With successful rescues came the problem of aftercare. Shelters and homes are not always equipped to effectively transition these young women to be self-sufficient members of society. Because of this and several other factors these survivors are frequently running back to a life of bondage and abuse, falling into a cycle of repeat trafficking.

Twenty-seven percent of the population in the Philippines lives at or below the poverty line. This poverty fuels the human trafficking industry. Young people are forced to drop out of school to work in jobs where they are exploited in order to help support their family. Sometimes the poverty is so desperate that children are sold into illegitimate jobs by their own parents.