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Who We Are

Who We AreThe Books & Beyond project is a collaborative service-learning project that connects the Kabwende Primary School (Kinigi, Rwanda), Indiana University’s Global Village Living-Learning Center (Bloomington, Indiana, USA), and TEAM Schools (Newark, New Jersey, USA).

Residents at the Indiana University Global Village Living-Learning Center have a passion for languages, cultures, and travel or study abroad.  As participants in Books & Beyond, GVers serve as writing partners, editors, documenters, evaluators, pen pals, and fundraisers.  On average, forty-five Global Villagers participate in Books & Beyond project each year.


The Kabwende Primary School ,
located in the Musanze Province of Rwanda, serves 2000 students in grades 1-6.  The Rwandan government recently mandated that all classroom instruction must be in English (formerly teachers had the option of using French or Ikinyarwanda).  Without training, teachers are struggling to learn English and teach their students in a new language.  Kabwende students in grade 5 and 6 co-author and illustrate stories for Books & Beyond.

TEAM Charter Schools is located in Newark, New Jersey, and serves middle and high school students.  The mission of TEAM Schools is for every student to go to college.  In Newark, only 20% of the residents have some college education.  TEAM Schools’ students are 96% African American and 4% Hispanic; they attend school from 7:25 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and four hours on Saturdays.  TEAM Schools’ students are participating in the Books & Beyond project as authors, illustrators, and fundraisers.

History

Fall 2005

IU alumna Nancy Uslan travels to Rwanda.  Upon returning Nancy
approaches IU and TEAM Schools about developing a project for Kabwende Primary School.

Summer 2008

TEAM Schools send Ali Nagle to Kabwende Primary School to perform a needs assessment.

Fall 2008

IU School of Education Professor Beth Lewis Samuelson becomes a Faculty advisor to Books & Beyond and develops a research agenda based on the project.

Books & Beyond launches with 25 Global Village and 16 TEAM School students.

Spring 2009

Students raise over $20,000 to support travel and printing of 2000 Copies of “The World is Our Home:  Volume I”.

Professor Samuelson creates a curriculum to aid the teachers at the Kabwende Primary School in using the books to teach critical literacy.

Summer 2009

A team of eleven representatives from IU and TEAM Schools travels to Rwanda to deliver 2000 copies of the book to the Kabwende Primary School and host curriculum workshops for the teachers.

Fall 2009

The second year of Books & Beyond launches with 16 TEAM Schools' students visiting IU to begin the writing process. 40 Global Village students and 30 Kabwende Primary School students also join the project.

Spring 2010

Students raise $45,000 to fund the project.

"The World is Our Home: Volume II" is published containing 47 stories written by Kabwende, TEAM, and Global Village students.

Summer 2010

A team of five representatives travel to Rwanda to deliver 2100 copies of the book, conduct student writing workshops and teacher development training at Kabwende Primary School.

Fall 2010 The third year of the project kicks off with 60 Global Village students and 16 TEAM Schools students. A team of four AmeriCorps Service-Engagement Corps members serves as the project's first leadership team. TEAM Schools students travel to IU to begin work on their stories.
Spring 2011 Global Village students travel to Newark, New Jersey, for the third year in a row and complete their stories with their writing partners. "The World is Our Home: Volume III" is prepared for publication by April 2011.
Summer 2011 Eight students and teachers from the Global Village and TEAM schools travel to Rwanda to deliver the third volume of the book. While at Kabwende, the delegation holds English conversation circles for students and teachers, workshops in writing and illustrating, and a community dialogue about the future of the project. 15 Rwandan students write and illustrate stories for the next volume of the book.
Fall 2011 Books & Beyond enters its fourth year with 72 Global Village students and 14 TEAM Schools students. The student leadership team is expanded to include a total of nine student leaders, including five AmeriCorps Service-Engagement Corps members. 
Spring 2012 IU Students travel to Newark, New Jersey to collaborate with their writing partners and complete their stories for "The World is Our Home: Volume IV". Additionally, IU students create multiple fundraisers for B&B.
Summer 2012 A delegation of 8 IU students, 4 TEAM Students, and their supervisors travel to Rwanda in order to teach at B&B's first Kabwende Holiday Camp, where students learned English and writing skills in addition to receiving Volume IV of "The World is Our Home."
Fall 2012 The fifth year of the project begins and students from TEAM and IU meet each other during TEAM's October trip to IU. New students learn about Rwanda and the purpose of the project and writing partners begin to brainstorm and write their stories.
Spring 2013 IU Students visit their TEAM writing partners in Newark, New Jersey to finish their stories. Additionally, B&B raised $8,000 so that TEAM students could go to Rwanda during the summer.
Summer 2013 A delegation of IU and TEAM students, staff, and faculty travel to Rwanda to teach at the second Kabwende holiday camp and to give copies of "The World is Our Home: Volume 5" to Kabwende students participating in the camp.
Fall 2013 B&B enters its 6th year with 37 Global Village students and multiple fundraising and outreach events. Additionally, the B&B faculty advisor and alumni publish an article about the effects of B&B.
Spring 2014 IU students visit their TEAM School writing partners in Newark, New Jersey to complete their stories. Furthermore, Global Village continues outreach by sponsoring a Rwandan film series and holding a fundraising dinner.
Summer 2014 Nine students from IU and TEAM Schools and their supervisors travel to Rwanda to deliver the year's anthology and to teach at the third annual Kabwende Holiday Camp.

Future of the Books & Beyond project

Books & Beyond will continue to engage students at the Kabwende Primary School, IU Global Village, and TEAM Schools in writing and publishing stories; and documenting, fundraising, and evaluating the project.  Books & Beyond will work closely with the Rwandan Ministry of Education to develop Kabwende Primary School as a center for teaching and learning in Rwanda.  The Kabwende Center for Teaching & Learning would increase the number of teachers receiving professional development training in the Books & Beyond curriculum, provide access to books for more students, and encourage competition amongst story writers.