Saturday, February 2, 2013

Community Library Project

The following is an email that I just sent out today to many family and friends to encourage donations for a library in my community.  But for those of you checking this out because of my facebook prompt, or for anyone else reading my blog, it applies to you as well!  Please consider making a donation and help my village kids have books to read!  Thanks so much!

Dear family and friends,

Bonjour from Burkina Faso!  I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the winter weather.  There are certainly days here in sunny, dusty sub-Saharan Africa that find me wishing I was back in Minnesota, standing outside in sub-zero temperatures surrounded by blowing snow flurries… but for now I guess the “chilly” nights of the current cold season – with night temperatures dropping to a frigid 65 degrees – will have to suffice. 

This letter is actually comprised of two separate letters: the one I’m writing right now, January 30, and the one that was written the first week of January but was never sent to you.  My original letter was meant to encourage donations for my project, “Literacy Through the Arts.”  But upon opening my email the day I planned to send you the letter, I was surprised with some very wonderful information!  An outside organization called “Friends of Burkina Faso” saw my project and wanted to help --- by FULLY FUNDING my project!!! *shouts of joy!*  And thus, instead of sending you a letter to request donations, I immediately got to work contacting the organization and Peace Corps Washington to confirm that this was allowed and to start the procedure for receiving my grant money. 

Many of you probably know about my project, whether from receiving a Christmas card from me, various emails, facebook status, or even a letter or email from Peace Corps Washington.  And some of you have already made contributions – thank you very much for supporting me and my African village!  But, because “Friends of Burkina Faso” will be fully funding the rest of my project, NO further contributions are needed for “Literacy Through the Arts.”  I repeat: please do NOT donate to my project.  In fact, within the next week, my project should be closed and taken down from the online website.  

Instead, please put that money towards my sitemate’s project: “Community Library” by Molly Morrison of Colorado.  As explained in the original letter (which I have included below), Molly and I live in the same community and work together on many projects.  My “Literacy Through the Arts” and Molly’s “Community Library” projects are our attempt at combatting literacy in our village.  And while my specific project no longer needs your financial generosity, Molly’s project – my secondary project – does.  So please help. 

In my original letter, I described “Literacy Through the Arts,” and so now I’ll present you with just a bit about “Community Library.”  I’ve also included some attachments photos of Molly and me in action at the soon-to-be library (any books or supplies seen in the photos have all been personally purchased by me and/or Molly): Molly and I painting an animal mural and a "reading tree"; a boy reading a children's book about HIV/AIDS after we did a lesson on AIDS during our day camp at the soon-to-be library building; girls reading together, Molly and I teaching a nutrition lesson under the big tree right next to the library building.

Project Summary: Almost universally throughout my village and the surrounding villages, there has been an acknowledgement that illiteracy is one of the most widespread problems. The school system is overcrowded and many students leave the classroom without having acquired fundamental skills like reading, writing or basic mathematics. Parents, teachers, and students have all expressed the desire for more educational materials that will allow them to learn outside of school. This project is designed to meet that need by providing simple furnishings and a modest collection of reading materials. We will have books in a variety of languages such as French, English and local languages. Maps, reference books, portable chalkboards, picture books, games and writing supplies will also be available to the village through the library which will provide additional learning opportunities. The library will not only be a place where villagers have access to books; it will also be a community center where awareness campaigns on health topics can be held, along with reading camps, girls clubs and Scrabble tournaments. The library will be focused primarily on providing educational materials to the community, but it will also place a high priority on making learning dynamic, engaging and fun by hosting awareness campaigns, tournaments, reading camps and clubs. This project is designed to meet a serious need in the village and to make learning accessible and enjoyable for the whole community. The community will contribute by repairing the building and constructing a latrine and hanger. They will also donate their time and energy to keep the library open and functioning, as well as to run reading camps and clubs.

Amount Needed: $3,180.50

Donating Online:  Go to, click on the “donate” tab, look for Molly’s project under “volunteer projects” and donate!  Or, similarly, you can go to and search for the project by typing in any of the following information criteria.
    Project Name:  “Local Community Library”
                Project Number:  13-686-010
                Country: Burkina Faso
                Volunteer Name:  Morrison M.
                Volunteer State: CO (Colorado)

Additional instructions for donating, along with other information you might find helpful, can be found below in my “original” letter from early January.  Anything that applied to my grant also applies to Molly’s (i.e. in terms of how to donate, us not receiving the money until ALL of it has been donated, etc.).  But, if you have any other questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or my parents.  Also, if you’d like, here is Molly’s contact information: morrison.molly@gmail.com  Molly has some pretty good stories on her blog (some of which include me), and she also provides further details about the library project, while also throwing in a few funny lines.  Well, at least I found them to be hilarious….but maybe that’s only because I live in village, eat boiled flour paste with slimy leaf sauce most nights, speak a random ensemble of languages and words that I  don’t always understand myself, and find these days, that most everything and anything is good for a laugh.

From both me and Molly, thank you so very much for your support! 

Elizabeth Hauth

P.S.  One last time, just for clarity’s sake, I will say again:  Please do not donate any additional money to “Literacy Through the Arts.”  Instead, put your contributions towards “Community Library” by Molly Morrison.  Merci beaucoup!

Skype: elizabeth.hauth
Phone/text message: 226-77-27-02-93
Mailing Address: 
Elizabeth Hauth
US Peace Corps - Corps de la Paix Americain
01 BP 6031 Ouagadougou
Burkina Faso (West Africa)

***My original letter is as follows:

January 6, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,

Bonjour!  And Happy New Year!  I hope 2013 has been off to a great start for you and your family.   If you follow my blog or any emails/letters I have sent your way, then you are probably aware of my latest (and biggest) project: “Literacy Through the Arts.”  I, along with the rest of my village, have been waiting since mid-November for project approval from Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington D.C., and at last, “Literacy Through the Arts” is good to go!  The account is finally listed online and is ready to accept donations from YOU!  I have a rather detailed project description listed on my blog (, and in addition, there is a project summary listed below.  Our goal is to have all the money (a total of $2,356) within the next month so we can start buying materials by the end of February and conduct the teacher workshops soon after.  Every dollar counts…please spread the word to anyone else who might be interested in giving!

Here’s some basic information about “Literacy Through the Arts” and instructions for donating online:

Project Summary:  By providing each of three local elementary schools with a set of one hundred age-appropriate picture books (primarily in French, but also in local languages) and basic “Literacy through the Arts” materials, this project aims to provide students with improved learning opportunities to develop their reading and critical thinking skills.  Additionally, this will be accompanied by a teacher workshop for the schools’ teachers and directors, strengthening their capacity so that they can successfully and creatively teach literacy.  This project addresses many of the community’s concerns, including: improving schools and children’s education; learning how to read; increasing access to books; incorporating health, hygiene, and other basic life skills into school curriculum; and training teachers.  The community and individual schools will be providing a significant proportion of the resources necessary for this project (25%), but in order for “Literacy through the Arts” to be as successful as possible with the greatest impact, outside aide is needed.  The potential outcomes for “Literacy through the Arts” are invaluable: books to read, students who succeed, and teachers who lead.   Considering that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, can we really put a price on their education?

Amount Needed:  $2,356.  (An additional contribution of almost $800 worth of labor/materials is already being made by the community/schools – a huge amount for them to give themselves.)  All donations are tax-deductible, and some employers will even match dollar-for-dollar any charities their staff give to, so please give what you can!
**Your gift of just $10 will buy a book that is both culturally friendly and age and language appropriate.
** For $30, you can provide a classroom with a basic set of arts materials – crayons, colored pencils, tape, scissors, white paper, construction paper, and string – that will be used to help facilitate students in learning how to read. 
**And your donation of $50 will sponsor a primary school teacher as he/she participates in the four-day teacher workshop, receiving new teaching pedagogy, improved instructional techniques (including non-violence methods), resources/ideas to combat illiteracy in the classroom, a professionally-printed handbook/manual with all workshop content, and a noon meal each workshop day. 

Donating Online:  Go to, click on the “donate” tab, look for my project under “volunteer projects” and donate!  It’s simple!   Or, similarly, you can go to and search for my project by typing in any of the following information criteria.
                Project Name:  “Literacy Through the Arts”
                Project Number:  13-686-008
                Country: Burkina Faso
                Volunteer Name:  E. Hauth
                Volunteer State: MN (Minnesota)
You can choose to donate anonymously, or you can give your name or other select contact information if you’d like.

Other Info:  Every single penny you give will go directly to my project; none of it is taken out to pay for Peace Corps salaries or headquarters’ costs, nor will it go towards my personal living expenses.  Once all the money is received into the account, it will be issued to me, and I will need to document each purchase and submit all receipts to account for every cent that this project dispenses.  Don’t worry – I won’t steal any money!  Also, I cannot receive or withdraw any of the money until ALL of it has been donated.  Consequently, if the $2,356 is not reached, my project will have to be reevaluated and meanwhile all contributions will be returned to the donors.   Furthermore, the account cannot surpass the amount I have requested, and thus, the account will be “closed” as soon as the $2,356 is reached.  If it so happens that you go to make a donation and our goal of $2,356  has already been achieved (or if you’re just feeling extra generous!), please donate to my sitemate’s project:  “Local Community Library” by Molly Morrison of Colorado, project number 13-686-008.    Molly and I live in the same community and are tackling the problem of illiteracy together -- I by working with the schools and teachers’ instructional methods, and Molly by establishing and furnishing a basic library of books and other learning resources accessible by the entire community and surrounding villages.  We designed the two complementary projects together and will be working as a team to accomplish both projects.  Please help fund our efforts!

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me via email ( I will try to respond as promptly as possible, but the internet isn’t always very reliable (or accessible) here in Burkina Faso, so it could be a few weeks before you hear from me…

Thank you for your time and support; it means a lot to me, and even more to my village.  Through your assistance and encouragement, my African family and friends will not only have the opportunity to read a book, but also to improve their lives!

Merci beaucoup!

Beth Hauth

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