Ecuador Tierra Viva ETV Foundation is working in partnership with the Book Bus Charity from UK. We run a mobile library service for children in Zambia and Ecuador with aim of spreading the joy reading to communities that have little or no access to books. In Ecuador, it is a pleasure to count on the support of the UK Ambassador, Mrs Linda Cross, and the Minister of Education, with whom ETV Foundation has signed a cooperation agreement.
Our beautiful bus has been converted into a library and decorated with images of children, books, and animals by children’s favourite illustrator, Quentin Blake. The bus is packed with picture books and art and music equipment.
Crewed by a team of volunteers, the bus visits schools in towns and rural communities throughout Ecuador. We work with children and teachers using story-telling, assisted reading, structured play together with art and music activities to encourage children to associating reading with enjoyment and creativity. By doing so, we hope to sow the seeds of a life-long love of books. We also provide coaching and support for adults in the community who want to learn to read and write.
You don’t need previous experience in teaching or literacy (although if you do have this, you’ll be doubly welcome). What you do need is a desire to share ideas, experience community life and encourage children to develop their reading skills. Enjoyment is a key part of the Book Bus experience so if you have a talent for artistic, musical or sporting activities, you’ll receive a warm welcome.
Throughout the year the book bus works with schools in 4 regions of ecuador. Each school has an allocated “book bus” day, which has been designed to fit in with the school timetable. The bus is not a replacement for school lessons; it supplements them.
During the day, the book bus crew work with various classes to help pupils improve their reading skills. We also spend time providing creative arts classes, as this is something the children don’t often get to do (e.g. creating stained glass windows for the classrooms, painting, colouring, drawing, puppet making and other works in foam).
At the end of day, the bus provides “club” time which is an informal reading club for members of the community/school. The hope is that when the bus leaves, the community and school will continue the club as a way of improving literacy skills.
We work mainly with small rural schools. Each school is different and we come across a wide range of abilities, ages and facilities, all are hospitable, warm and well run (considering the poor funding). The Book Bus spends much of its time working with these schools and the communities they support. We find this work and the school environment incredibly rewarding and it provides us with memorable experiences.
The best part of the day is working with the kids - fresh, enthusiastic, cheeky and with incredible warmth! The children generally come from a very disadvantaged background, yet they constantly amaze us with their stoicism, ability, kindness and capacity for joy. A lot of laughing happens on the Book Bus.
The Book Bus spends 12 weeks in each of four regions of the country. The timetable below will help you plan your Book Bus experience.
Esmeraldas, Pacific coast – based in the Africa community
Operating season: 19th April 2010 to 18th June 2010
Manabí, Pacific coast – based in Puerto Lopez
Operating season: 21st June 2010 to 10th September 2010
Andes Project – based in Riobamba
Operating season: 13th September 2010 to 3rd December 2010
Travel to schools, project support, accommodation and breakfast are provided. Please note that we are a self-funding charity and we require a volunteer donation of US$150 per week to cover your bed and breakfast accommodation and local staff costs. (Minimum volunteer period is 2 weeks). ETV inscription cost is US$50.
Our base in Quito is at Selva Alegre OE-408 & Ruiz de Castilla. Please call us or come over and have a chat, we have a limited number of volunteer places on the Book Bus and we’ll let you know how you could help the project.