Dr Zizo Mtengwane’s ‘Drop a Book’ Aims To Aid Rural School Libraries

Scholars of Tshebedisano Primary School sing and dance during the opening of their schools library.

After meeting with various kids from less privileged backgrounds, Dr Zizo Mtengwane, a children’s doctor at the RK Khan Hospital, decided to start a campaign for a school in her community where she hails in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape, with the help of a friend. She spoke to the Daily Vox about her inspiration to help schools in the rural area to collect books for the learners.

There’s a primary school back home in a deep rural area, where the library only has twenty books. My inspiration to start the campaign ‘Drop a Book’ came from my line of work. I work with children; and at government hospitals you would come across sad kids from underprivileged backgrounds. You can tell that some do possess great potential but have no means, so we are trying to break the poverty line. Also, I come from an education background, with my mother being a teacher and my grandmother a principal.

Also, some are from families where no one encourages them educationally so they lack that drive. I have had this idea in my mind but I only started executing it some time last week. I spoke to a friend from Durban and shared my idea with her, she loved it so we started drafting a text message that we later on distributed across both our contacts on WhatsApp asking for donations.

The kind of books that we are looking for vary from fiction, non-fiction, comic, literature, puzzles and all other form of books for people aged between six and fifteen; because the school starts from grade R up to grade seven. I’ve also spoken to the principal of the school about my idea and my plan, he was pleased with it.

The campaign is quite new, so at the moment we’ve been targeting KwaZulu-Natal, specifically Durban. I wasn’t sure how far and wide this would go, so I had to start with where I am which is Durban. What my friend and I decided was that it would be easier if we come up a drop off point or two, so that people who are willing to donate would know where to drop the books.

Our current drop off points are RK Khan Hospital and Mahatma Gandhi Philakahle Clinic. But for those willing to donate and can’t make it to these drop off points, we can always come to them and collect.

The main objective is to make a difference in these children’s lives. I have realised that two hundred books would be enough for the primary school, so the plan is to continue collecting more books so that I can go from one school to another. There are three schools in the area, two primary and a high school; they are all without libraries.

I know that at schools they have extra mural activities but they don’t have enough reading materials to work with. The books would come in very handy in this case.

People willing to donate can drop off at RK Khan Hospital and Mahatma Gandhi Philakahle Clinic.

Featured image by the GCIS.