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Elon Winter Term course opens library, collects supplies for South Africa school

Twenty-nine students who spent Winter Term in South Africa collected money this fall to purchase gym uniforms, supplies and books for more than 155 children at a primary school that has worked with Elon University since last year through the Global Links Library and Literacy Campaign.

The Adopt-a-Student program and the Global Links Library and Literacy Campaign was first implemented in January 2008 after students enrolled in the course the previous year witnessed lingering effects of segregationist policies in South Africa and in their own backyard. Adopt-a-Student asks U.S. sponsors to contribute $40 to support a child's education for one year.

Daniel and Laurel Woods of the Tennessee-based Sapphire Foundation (and parents of Amber Woods '10, who participated in the 2009 South Africa program) donated most of the books used to open the school library.

The South Africa program, led by assistant professor Prudence Layne in the Department of English, began last year with modest goal of sponsoring 25 students and donating a few children's books to the empty shelves of the library at the Ekukhanyisweni Primary School in Alexandra, South Africa.

Another aim was to use technology to link the students at EPS with the users of the Mayco Bigelow Community Center/North Park in Burlington, N.C.

Elon students in the 2008 program surpassed the initial goal by sponsoring 73 students with school and gym uniforms and supplies and some books were donated to the school. Helped by an exchange rate that favored the United States dollar and the continued support of Elon students, family, and friends, the 2009 class doubled its impact, sponsoring more than 155 students as they helped open the school's library with an array of books.

"This day will go down in school history," Helen Mabonela, headmistress at Ekukhanyisweni Primary School, said Jan. 23 at the opening of the library. "We are extremely grateful for all you've done."

"This day will go down in school history," Helen Mabonela, headmistress at Ekukhanyisweni Primary School, said Jan. 23 at the opening of the library. "We are extremely grateful for all you've done."

Daniel and Laurel Woods of the Tennessee-based Sapphire Foundation (and parents of Amber Woods '10, who participated in the 2009 South Africa program) donated most of the books used to open the EPS library and the software used for its operation.

In addition, two Community Partnership Initiative grants funded through the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation made the donation of a laptop computer to EPS, a desktop computer to the Mayco Bigelow Community Center/North Park and a book grant that supplied books to the EPS library possible.

Helped by an exchange rate that favored the United States dollar and the continued support of Elon students, family, and friends, the 2009 class sponsored more than 155 students as they helped open the school's library.

The goal of the Winter Term 2010 class will be to open a store at EPS to supply the 1,050-plus students with all their needs and to start a meals program using sponsor donations. The hope is for the store to become self-sufficient within two years and to reinvest profits for EPS teachers’ professional development.

For more information on the course's service-learning initiatives and on how you can get involved, visit the class blog by clicking on the link to the right, or by contacting at  or contact Prudence Layne at playne@elon.edu

- Prudence Layne, assistant professor of English

Eric Townsend,
Staff
2/5/2009 8:56 AM