South Africa Study Abroad

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The Global Links Library/Literacy Initiative forms one of several service projects developed by Dr. Prudence Layne as part of Elon University’s winter term study abroad course to South Africa. The program seeks to establish and or develop the resources of libraries in schools and community centers in low-income areas in South Africa, Ghana, and the United States for the purpose of: improving literacy and the love of reading; fostering cross-cultural understanding among constituents through a global book club and reading program; providing tutorial and technological support to program constituents; and providing students with virtual and mortar-and-brick environments through which they can create and share original artistic pieces, such as poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and other original work of art.

The program began in 2007 at the ‘Ekukhanyisweni’ Primary School in Alexandra, South Africa and the Mayco Bigelow Community Center in Burlington, NC, and will expand to include other community partnerships with elementary, middle, high schools, and universities in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ghana, and South Africa. The program is being implanted in three phases

Phase I: Work with community partners to develop the age-appropriate reading lists and schedule of readings. The goal is to stock each library with copies of the recommended texts, and to provide guided discussions of the texts via the program’s blog located at Constituents will use the blog to share their creative writing and unique cultural perspectives based on these reading experiences.

Phase II: Secure funding for establishing and developing library and technological resources at the Ekukhanyisweni Primary School in Alexandra, South Africa and the Mayco Bigelow Community Center in Burlington, NC for books and technological resources. The goal is to purchase computer equipment for the facilities so that constituents can access the program’s blog, surf the internet, conduct research, and create a virtual art gallery.

Phase III: Schedule reading groups, forums, and homework tutorial services. The goal is to provide homework helpers and reading partners for constituents using the facility. Elon University students will be asked to volunteer at MBCC to assist children there with homework, conducting research, and developing their reading skills. As the program develops, more experienced members of the program will be trained to provide these tutorial services at program facilities.

This transcontinental, multicultural, literacy initiative attempts to bridge the disconnection between what students learn in the classroom to the real world, other cultures, and their own realities. The Global Links Literacy Program seeks to create a venue to share and increase cultural knowledge. The more that people from different countries are linked, the more global awareness, tolerance, and care they will develop for each other.

Student Outcomes:
The program is designed to:
•create a positive atmosphere in which literature is used to improve reading competency
•link students from different countries to share opinions and views
•foster multicultural awareness and understanding through literature
•increase communication among students around the globe
•increase global awareness of crises, events, and lifestyles in other areas of the world
•develop student technological competencies with computers, software, and learning tools like course blogs and the internet
•create global citizenship among students
•foster friendship among students of similar ages in various countries and communities
•help students accept differences and find commonalities with others
•demonstrate the power an function of literature to change oneself and the world

Community Outcomes:
The program is designed to:
•increase patron usage of the Branch library at the Mayco Bigelow Community Center & North Park in Burlington
•establish a library/tutoring center at the Ekukhanyisweni Primary School in Alexandra, South Africa
•increase literacy and reading competencies among elementary, middle school, and high school student participants in the program
•develop new, long-term partnerships between Elon and local and global community partners

The Global Links Library/Literacy Book Campaign
Suggested Titles are available via our wishlist on For your convenience, you may purchase new or used copies of our selections there, and have them mailed directly to us. Follow this linkfor more information:

NOTE: These are suggested titles, additional and other relevant books are welcome.


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Prudence Layne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English &
Coordinator of African/African-American Studies

2338 Campus Box, Elon, NC 27244
Phone: 336-278-5618 • Fax: 336-278-2014