An America English teacher Kristen Swanson is looking forward to raise $6000 for a workshop for writers and artists to produce kids’ books rooted in African culture that will inspire kids to become readers for life in Rwanda.
Swanson who has taught for twelve years at Pennridge Central Middle School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, revealed her project plans on April 5, 2013 to Develop Children’s Books with East African writers.
However, from 1990 to 2000, she lived with her family in East Africa, developing a youth and leadership training center, working on income-generating projects, and teaching.
The Rwanda Writes project was requested by Rwandan teachers, youth workers, and peace-makers to carry a message of peace and forgiveness to children, forge long-lasting writer-to-writer connections, and inspire kids to become readers for life.
“I figured that perhaps this wasn’t the year for a writers’ workshop, or that other events had overshadowed the project. But a month ago, I received an enthusiastic email from the new leader of ALARM, the peace and reconciliation group that started the IWE school, inviting me to hold the workshop this summer, in July of 2013. Within a week, I had assembled a great team of four writer and trainers,” said Swanson.
Our workshop goal is to see at least ten books produced by workshop participants. In the long run, we hope that this workshop will inspire the production of children’s literature in the future.
The seed of the Rwanda Writes Workshop lies in her interviewing Emmanuel, a Burundian who shared with Kristen his story of eight years of slavery to Congolese rebel groups and his miraculous escape.
Her personal project goal is to finish interviewing Emmanuel and to publish a picture book or middle grade novel about his amazing experiences.
Successful funding will help Kristen arrange airfare for her presenters. Half of the money raised will go to transportation, food, lodging, and supplies for the workshop participants. Some of the money will be spent on transporting a collection of “mentor books:” picture and chapter books that can be used to model good writing and illustration on similar themes of forgiveness and conflict resolution.