The Start of Something Big
Teach a friend to read was first produced for EducAid SL when all schools, colleges and public meeting places were closed in Sierra Leone, because of the Ebola crisis.
Libby was inspired by the Director of the Educaid schools, Miriam Mason Sesay, when she appeared on the BBC news to explain that people could not read the Ebola health warning posters and leaflets because of the high illiteracy rate in Sierra Leone.
A British woman, Miriam stayed in Sierra Leone throughout the Ebola crisis. Miriam drove round the country picking up children who had lost their families to Ebola, and provided a haven for the orphans in her nine free schools.
Libby rang Miriam in Sierra Leone. As the author of the highly acclaimed one-to-one coach-book, Yes we can read - she offered to produce another coach-book which would be lighter, cheaper and culturally non-specific.
Inspired by the urgency of the situation, and with the invaluable help from her long-suffering editor and husband Nick, Libby wrote Teach a friend to read in record time.
Father Martin Morgan, the generous-hearted Anglican vicar in her village had the best photo-copier in the area. Once he had run off copies of the coach-book for EducAid SL, the two local primary schools and the Catholic Church followed suit.
Flights to the Ebola-infected areas were cancelled.His Excellency Eddie Turay, High Commissioner for Sierra Leone, immediately saw the world-wide potential for helping to end poor literacy. He personally ensured that the coach-books were delivered to EducAid SL in Freetown. H.E. has been our staunch supporter and champion ever since.
Miriam – in spite of tragedy on an unimaginable scale within her family, school, and friends - in spite of the constant danger of becoming infected herself - in spite of gruelling working hours - in spite of failing electricity supplies - somehow managed to send photos of the EducAid children and volunteers teaching children who had lost their families.
She even managed to produce a video of four 11 year olds in her school teaching their new friends with our coach-book, which was first called Each one teach one to read. Now EducAid uses Teach a friend to read with volunteers, support staff and older children who love reading.
For her work in Sierra Leone Libby received the prestigious
AWOL Special Friends of Sierra Leone Award 2017: