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Okanagan College Trades and Apprenticeship students lent their hands and tools to support a literacy project in Africa.
OC partnered with Niteo Africa Society and CLAC to convert a shipping container into a model literacy centre similar to those that are shipped to Uganda by Niteo.
The Global Child Literacy Centre will be permanently located at the Evangel Church parking lot in Kelowna and will act as an education centre as well as a permanent book collection station.
“This project has been so great for us and our students,” says Teresa Kisilevich, Associate Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “We had carpentry students and staff build the windows, front entrance and roof. Our Women in Trades students built a book collection box, and students from School District 23’s Central School built bookshelves. As much as possible, we used recycled materials, making this a meaningful project on so many levels.”
A book drive was held on the campus at the same time, with many people donating their gently loved books to be donated to Niteo Africa.
The public is able to donate new or gently-used books at any time at the Literacy Centre’s collection box. The books must be in English language only, be age appropriate for a number of groups from toddlers to teens, and must not contain excessive violence or offensive content. Encyclopedias and magazines cannot be accepted.
“Literacy is the most basic unit of change for the world,” says Karine Veldhoen, Executive Director, Niteo. “Literate children become meaning makers, critical and creative thinkers. Literate children become change makers. We are thrilled to partner with CLAC and Okanagan College on this project. This space will enliven communities with literacy around the world.”
The grand opening of the Global Child Literacy Centre will take place this Saturday, Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. – 2p.m. in the parking lot of Evangel Church, 3261 Gordon Drive, in Kelowna. The ribbon cutting will happen at noon. The public is invited to view the converted seacan and are encouraged to bring a kids book or a toonie to help with shipping costs. Refreshments will be provided.
“We are extremely grateful and excited at the opportunity to work in close partnership with the Okanagan College Trades and Apprenticeship program and Niteo towards achieving Niteo’s humanitarian vision of facilitating literacy locally and globally to those whose needs might otherwise go unnoticed,” says Quentin Steen, B.C. Representative, CLAC.
“Their vision is one that continues to capture our attention and imagination because it embodies our CLAC values of fairness, integrity, respect and dignity for all people.”
Photos from various stages of the project can be found on the College’s Flickr gallery.