Yoga Journal Pose of the Day

Thursday, December 11, 2008

my project

Off the busy Debre Zeit road, in the Beklebet neighborhood, at the end of a short alley, is this oasis of calm.

It really is a peaceful, nurturing place, and as my visit to Ethiopia was drawing quickly to an end, I was anxious to visit the Shola Children's Library, finding the opportunity to do so on Wednesday, November 26. Such a special place!

I was welcomed by Ato Abiy Solomon who is the Publishing Project Manager at Ethiopia Reads/EBCEF. He kindly took me around to show me all the various aspects of the facility here and even introduced me to some of the staff: Arefagne Fantahon, the Communication and Special Projects Manager, Sinfaghe Lemma, the Shola Children's Library Manager and others.

I am thrilled to be holding their gift to me, their latest book published in Amharic and English, The Elephant and The Rooster. This is a colourfully illustrated, 25-story collection of folktales from regions across Ethiopia, collected by the British writer Elizabeth Baird.

The facility even spills out into two large tents on the grounds, where more students are found, busy studying and reading. It is a quiet haven for many of these students who live in the area and provides a safe, clean, inviting place to read, study and learn.

One of the most thrilling things I saw here was a map, showing all the libraries that have been established by Ethiopia Reads since it's inception, about 30 in all in Addis Ababa and Awassa. Then, to top it all off, there were many, many dots showing the planned locations of all the new libraries that are planned for as far ahead as 2010!

I was especially pleased by the Ethiopian section of the library. It is so important in a country with such a proud literary history, that books in their own language be available to as many children as possible.

For someone like me who has always loved books, I could not think of a program that is more exciting and rich with potential, the potential to inspire learning, ignite imaginations and stimulate thinking in hundreds of Ethiopian children. Books are such an important tool in education and education will be, I'm sure, a key to improving the lives of the next generation of Ethiopians.

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