Many recognize the need to increase literacy globally. Reading enriches peoples’ lives, opens one’s mind and inspires individually and collectively. Through books, we have a chance to access knowledge and further our understanding of the world we live in.
The Book Program aims to increase access to books in underserved areas where the need is identified. The objective of the Canada-China Book Program is to increase literacy and enlighten children through the donation of books to remote regions of China. Many of the libraries and schools in these regions have very few books available. The book program began with the province of Guizhou.
The Canada-China Book Program will donate books to regions of need in China, for children aged 6 to 12 (grades 1 to 6) and aged 12 to 15 (grades 7 to 9). To ensure teaching and supervision of reading, books will be donated to schools. The institutions identified will have the capacity and knowledge to develop and implement reading programs in order to maximize the use of the donated books. Books will be on a variety of topics including arts and culture in Chinese with some in English or French at a basic level. At the end of a certain pre-set duration, book reports written by children will be requested. This will enable a measure of the program’s success.
We plan to provide a total of 200,000 books to China over 4 years or 4 phases, with 1 region per year. That is 50,000 books per year, with 80% books in Chinese, 20% in rudimentary English and up to two computers per school.
Our working partner in China is the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries that will provide assistance and staff support to us for the Program at no cost.
We are honoured to have the endorsement for this Book Program from governments of Canada and China and several generous donors. We are thankful for the support from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Embassy in China. Diplomacy officers from the Canadian Embassy recently made an on-site visit to Guizhou for us on this Book Program and provided us with helpful suggestions to move forward.
While 15 schools in Guizhou have been identified, donation of books to one school first was undertaken as a pilot project in mid July 2011. Based on the experience from this first donation, we are planning the next steps to realise this Program.
The intended outcomes of the Book Program are:
- Increased access to books in areas where the need is identified
- Increased literacy in rural communities
- Strengthened partnership with Chinese communities
- Canadian philanthropy in China
The support from the Canadian Embassy in China has been invaluable. On-site visits to some of the schools in Guizhou were made by the Canadian Embassy Officers and in 2011, we undertook our pilot project and donated our first collection of 7,900 books as well as 10 sets of desks and 10 bookcases to Machang Primary School in Guizhou. Students, teachers, the school principle and administrators, parents, grandparents and local artists participated in the celebration of this endeavour.
We undertake the Book Program in the spirit of providing the tools to enlighten and increase literacy for children and youths who are our future. Through this Program and transcending national boundaries, we unite people, promote good will, foster and strengthen relationship and, in the process, cultivate international understanding of cultures.
Donations of funds and books will be appreciated.
We are seeking appropriate children’s books from museums for this program and would appreciate your involvement.