International Literacy Outreach

The Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians is honored to have the opportunity to support international literacy outreach through our very own executive member, Monica Wiebe.

Since Jan. 28, 2007 Monica has been a friend to the teachers and students at St. Jude Primary School in the village of Bukoto, near Masaka, Uganda.  Monica taught for almost 3 months in early 2007 using only a teacher book and chalk, a stark contrast to the Smartboards, ebooks and libraries she was used to in Winnipeg. Teaching English to students who had never held a book was a challenge like none other, but Monica successfully accomplished her mission.

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New textbooks are a big hit!

In 2009, after collecting donations from family, friends and our very own MCRC, Monica returned to Uganda, with enough funds to start a small library. Textbooks were also purchased, that proved to be valuable resources when teaching complexities such as the digestive system! The focus remained primarily on Agriculture, Science and English books for Primary/grade 2-7.

In 2012, Monica returned to Uganda with even more financial support from friends, family and the MCRC. With this money, Monica was able to replenish books, purchase playground equipment, build a water tank designed to store rain water, and purchase mosquito nets for the dorm.

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New playground equipment

During all this time Monica instilled a love of reading for fun with all she met. Rural Uganda is not extremely literate; however students who excel can get scholarships to university. Reading for fun is not common in the country side, mainly because work is manual, plentiful and exhausting.

Today Monica continues to seek funds to help the school replace textbooks and provide new materials that will enhance literacy for this small rural community.  Through the support of donations, Monica endeavors to send money once a year. The school year begins in February,  and $1900 US was sent on March 1, 2017. The MCRC supported Monica in achieving this goal. Recently Monica received a package with 51 thank you letters from Primary 5/6 students! The letters were heartfelt and gracious, and brought season’s greetings to all who had supported this project.

Click here to  watch a video and learn more about The Book Project since it’s inception in 2007. See first hand the amazing changes Monica has helped to achieve!

Literacy for Joy and Justice

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To celebrate literacy for joy and justice, the MCRC wanted to find a suitable outreach project. Sandra Janzen came up with the idea of serving at Siloam Mission. Sandra contacted Siloam and MCRC was promptly signed up to serve on the breakfast shift from 8:30-11:30. We had 8 MCRC council members, as well as a husband and son, come together to volunteer their time on Saturday February 18. We all met at Siloam Mission and began our morning with a tour of this incredible facility. We were extremely impressed with many aspects of the facility. We were shown the Health Centre that offers free medical, dental and other therapeutic services for guests. We also toured the Emergency Shelter Facility which was made possible in part by Hannah Taylor and her Ladybug foundation. Hannah raised over one million dollars for the facility which offers a safe and inviting place to stay for up to 120 overnight guests.

siloamAt promptly 9:00 we divided into 2 groups, kitchen service and drop-in support. Those working in the kitchen prepared, plated and served a delicious breakfast of pancakes, toast, pastries and sliced apples. Those stationed in the drop-in assisted those with mobility issues, served, cleaned tables and conversed with the guests.  We were very impressed with this hearty meal, which provided a wonderful start to a beautiful warm prairie Saturday in February! As members we enjoyed the opportunity to meet and greet people, hear their stories and share some jokes.

It was an honor to serve with other volunteers from across the city. We were impressed with the commitment of the staff and the joy they showed in serving others. Many guests took solace in books and magazines after the meal was done. It was truly an experience of joy and justice. Each one of us left with a greater appreciation of the outreach in our city and the businesses and individuals who continue to provide such high quality and nutritious food. We were also inspired to see the leadership team of Daniel Macintyre School who came in the shift after us to serve lunch.  We would like to encourage MCRC members to consider volunteering or donating supplies to Siloam Mission.

Special thanks to Jacob Janzen and Chris Assenmacher for volunteering their time and filling in at the last minute for council members who could not make it. Thanks also to executive council members Carol Hryniuk-Adamov, Jessica Kowall, Sandra Janzen, Jaymie Thiessen, Monica Wiebe, Philippe Morin-Fournier, Shelagh Deacon and Barb Garrioch for also volunteering their time on this Saturday morning. We look forward to volunteering again next year!

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