Personally, through the projects that we have engaged in, working for the charity has been able to teach me a lot of skills along the way. Some formal and others informal.
Before we had started the library projects, I had never actually used a mechanical tool such as a saw, hammer and timber. Through the creation of library shelves I have been able to acquire some basic carpentry skills. Other skills I picked up along the way were painting skills and a bit about welding and metal work. Had it not been for our projects, I would have never had an interest in such activities. The same goes for majority of our community volunteers.
The charity’s activities are all about running a project through all the phases from initiating phase to building phase which requires a lot of planning, budgeting, coming up with the most cost effective means and ways of completing different tasks. These ‘problems’ assisted the community’s we engage in and myself in learning how to think strategically, see potential problems before they arise and coming up with possible solutions to each individual problem. We all work as one team as the projects are of partnership between JBAC and the Community. This is the part that we struggled with the most and a big part of our improvement in this area would not have been possible without the aid and assistance of Dr. Lenka McAlinden who is an expert in community behavioural change.
The playgrounds at each library play a very big part in bringing the kids together. Kids of different education backgrounds, different ages and different characters come together to play and in the process they learn from each other. They are able to build teamwork and to socialise in these areas. They learn to share and take turns on the swings without supervision. They learn to be disciplined.
The charity has been able to introduce libraries to surrounding schools by donating 30 boxes of books to each school around the library. This has enabled the kids to generate interest in the books. Some only like to look at the pictures because they are still challenged to read, it makes them come to the library where the kids teach each other and the librarians assist where they can to give them more attention which they lack at the overcrowded schools.
We have hosted some events such as the young writer’s competition and the sports day that attract vast amounts of villagers and onlookers. The community as a whole comes to cheer and praise the people they support. The number of participants range between 20 to 30 per community. The games empower the children, more so the girl child as physical sports are mostly focused on the boy child. There is some gender inequality in most of the communities that we have worked with, and we do our best to break this tradition.
In and overall view, JBAC has brought literacy to different communities, a place of solitude where one can have a quiet atmosphere to read and where the children get their own time to play with the toys and puzzles that train their minds to be creative.