Monday, July 01, 2013

Bookmaking in Rural Cambodia

We truly live in a small world. In January of this year I received this email:

My name is Valery and I am a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching at a small high school in rural Cambodia.

I'd like to thank you so much for all the information on your Making Books website! I am using it to have my students create storybooks and fill it with their own stories. To them, making these little books are more than just a small activity.

The arts in Cambodia, especially creative writing, were pretty much destroyed and discouraged during the time of the Khmer Rouge. It continues to affect Cambodian education today. None of my students have ever been encouraged in school to use their imagination and write their own story. My students have all been busy working on writing their own stories and they LOVE it. They will also illustrate the stories and then present them to fellow students. I also plan on finding and inviting a Cambodian writer to come and speak to the students.

And then in June:

I wanted to provide you with an update. I managed to team up with the school and some other Peace Corps Volunteers and got the materials to create the books! About 20 students wrote their own short story and created a book and illustrated it. We drew inspiration from your blog and techniques and then incorporated local materials and student knowledge to create the final product. They came out great and the students had a good time! They also showed off their books at a Peace Corps Volunteer-run arts festival. They were a hit and also unique- they were the only students who did books. I think we inspired some others! Here are some pictures. I will certainly do this again next year for my students and will use your blog. Thanks for such a wonderful resource!

Here are some photos of the books. Congratulations to Valery and her students!

Valery also asked that I share a link with the Peace Corps Partnership people can directly donate to a Volunteer's projects. All proceeds go to the Volunteer for the project and it is also tax deductible! Here is the link: Find a Volunteer Project | Donate to Volunteer Projects | Peace Corps. For example, a Volunteer in her country of service (Cambodia) is trying to raise money for a national spelling bee.


Hannah Hunter said...

Susan, your blog is a beautiful example of the way in which the internet can be a force for the greater good. The possible connections far exceed my imagination.
I'm touched by your commitment to books and literature and that you were able to share that love with a group of children so far away.

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord said...

Hannah-yes a force for greater good. Thank you.

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