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Through SheWinS, we maintain four public libraries in the Memel-Zamani community: one in Memel Primary School, one in Memel Public School, one in Ucembo Primary School  and one in Zamani Secondary School. Memel Primary School was our first library and now houses over 8,000 books, with the other two libraries each having about 4000 books.

SheWinS has also donated books to the Kingdom Kids School (Memel), Pongolo Valley Primary (Kwazulu), Goslings school for autistic children (Newcastle), Ngogo Pre-primary (Newcastle outskirts), and the Kgololo School in Johannesburg. 
The Memel Primary School library project began in 2017 in collaboration with SheWinS. We wanted to aid the school in its educational mission and inspire a lifelong love of reading in the students. When English literacy, comprehension, and fluency increases, the students have better chances of finding jobs and improving their standard of living. Only 14 % of the public schools in South Africa have a functioning library. Memel is one of a kind,with four public libraries in one town!
The books are organized by reading level (beginning, intermediate, and advanced). Specialized subjects including general sciences, sport and leisure, animals, biography, and poetry are provided, and there is also a selection of books written in Zulu and on topics related to South African history. Students are permitted to check out one book at a time. The public library is open two days a week – during the mid-day break and after school. Due to nonexistent government appointed library staff, SheWinS volunteers and part-time workers keep the libraries open 2-3 hrs daily during school hours.
Currently we have enough books with the given available space. However, with use and familiarity, fresh books will be required. We would especially appreciate books written in Zulu. 
That being said, our numbers have already exceeded expectations, thanks to our donors. Every contribution we have received adds to a growing world of opportunity, learning, imagination, and creativity for the children of Memel and Zamani. 
We can’t possibly thank our donors enough for their contributions — donations of time, money, books, and other resources they have made to this life-changing project.  With generosity and consideration from enough individuals, we can gradually make the many small impediments a little less overwhelming.
Not only do these library books afford children the opportunity to immerse themselves in new and exciting worlds, but they also serve as invaluable resources to enhance the reading competency and earning potential of children who are fighting against almost insurmountable barriers in their day-to-day lives. In fact, a recent survey shows teachers have noticed a positive impact in students’ reading because of the library program. The children have become more engaged and excited for library days, and there is noticeable improvement in spoken and written English by third grade.
Many of the books provided initially came from the Rotary Club Humanitarian Center in Johannesburg, or were carried as excess luggage by friends and families. Subsequently in 2019, the non-profit Books For Africa donated a container of 22,000 books. This is a fantastic organization, located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

  If you have books to donate, or would be willing to volunteer with us to work in the library please contact Cindy Burns at

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the SheWinS library project at: GiveButter/SheWinS.

Eyes Open Wide:

At a recent unveiling of new books, students were thrilled by what they discovered. We slowly brought the students into the library, classroom by classroom, to pique their interest and give them the opportunity to look at all of the different books.
At the beginning, the children entered the space rather timidly, unsure as to whether all of these books were actually for them or even whether it was okay to touch and pick them up. With just a few words of encouragement, they quickly spread throughout the room, their eyes darting each and every way trying to decide where to start. Nowadays, the children race over to the library during their breaks and try to crowd in to return their books and obtain new books.
Some children flip pages hurriedly, anxious to take in as many of the illustrations as possible in the time that was given to them. Others turn the pages ever so slowly, their lips moving silently as they worked to form the words, their eyes progressively growing larger, hungrily absorbing every detail. Faces break into huge grins as children suddenly recognize a book or character and their friends gather around to share in the thrilling discovery. When the full capacity of the library space is reached, the children are told to sit quietly at the table, and the third graders often read aloud to themselves, as the room is filled with their voices.