Tuesday, February 5, 2013

WriteMe to Boost English-Language Proficiency in Zimbabwe

Reader to Reader is pleased to announce its 2013 Springboard Program project, WriteMe.

The project is designed to boost English-language proficiency among high school students in Zimbabwe.

About WriteMe

For students in Zimbabwe, English reading and writing proficiency are crucial skills that are imperative to their academic and professional development. Unfortunately, for a large number of students in rural Zimbabwe, English is not their first or second language. This is due to a lack of necessary resources such as books and textbooks that help to develop student’s literacy. As a result many schools located in remote areas across Zimbabwe have witnessed several of their students fail English exams and drop out of school.

“Most of our students are unable to progress to the next level of their studies because they fail their English reading and writing exams. Usually most drop out of school instead of repeating their studies because of financial constraints,” laments the deputy headmaster of Ndanga High School in Birchenough Bridge, Zimbabwe.

Developed by Amherst College sophomore Courage Matiza, a citizen of Zimbabwe, WriteMe hopes to aid in the development of these reading and writing skills by providing the necessary resources to students.

“I believe literacy is a powerful tool to break the poverty cycle in rural Zimbabwe as it empowers young Zimbabweans with the skills to develop their communities. Indeed, to give a child a pen and book is to arm them and their community for the future,” Matiza says.

WriteMe will provide the space and resources needed to develop reading and writing skills by building and renovating libraries in remote schools. These libraries will be platforms where students engage with the literary world. Through provision of domestic and international reading materials we seek to open out a world of opportunities for students.

A key component is the WriteMe essay writing competition, which offers an opportunity for students to showcase their writing skills and an incentive for students to be engaged in the writing process.

WriteMe hopes to amplify the voices of these young Zimbabweans by publishing these stories in the form of e-books and paper books and distribute them to a global audience.

Also planned are reading and writing training workshops that aim to develop students’ literacy skills. These workshops will serve as platforms on to not only train students to master the basics of writing, but also expose them to opportunities in the world of literature.

The first WriteMe essay competition will take place from February 15, 2013 to March 20, 2013 at Ndanga High School in Birchenough, Zimbabwe.

In addition, the project hopes to renovate the Ndanga High School’s library in July 2013.

If you want to support WriteMe visit its Crowdrise fundrasing page at www.crowdrise.com/writeme

About the Springboard Program

The Springboard Program brings college students into the world of non-profit work through the development and implementation of their own international or domestic literacy project. This program guides students through the entire process, teaching them the skills necessary to lead their own literacy project and giving them unparalleled leadership opportunity.

For more information visit www.readertoreader.org/literacy/springboard.

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