Results & Impact:
The results of this project were immediately tangible: children without resources learned to make the notebooks they need for school and were empowered to continue studying.
Two of the older participants came to the workshops often and helped recruit kids to participate in the workshops. They played a key role in the word of mouth promotion of the project. In addition, because they shared their thoughts and opinions during the process, their example encouraged other children to express themselves.
The workshop format was different than what The Riecken Foundation normally does. These workshops had an open format - there was a range of time, rather than a set start time, in which any children who wanted to could come and make notebooks. This format resulted in a larger number of children participating in the workshops than had participated in previous workshops. In addition to the open format, just by showing other kids their handmade notebooks, the children who participated were key to promoting future workshops.
Volunteers and members of the library's board of directors learned the bookmaking techniques so they will be able to lead similar workshops in the future.
One small obstacle was obtaining the recycled materials to make the notebooks with. It turns out even recycled materials can have a cost. I was lucky to get cloth, cardboard, etc., donated by local businesses.
Partner Organization Collaboration:
Collaboration with The Riecken Foundation was essential. The workshops themselves took place in the library and it was important that staff engage in the process so that they could duplicate this workshop. The Riecken Foundation recognized that the project and the open format of the workshops were successful and will likely incorporate the content and format into future projects.
The community responded positively the to the project. Several local businesses donated materials for the workshops, which made this project very low cost.
News of the workshops spread quickly by word of mouth. Kids who had made the recycled notebooks showed their family and friends the final products. These syblings and friends would then show up for the next workshop.
I believe several steps were made towards the sustainability of this project. First, volunteers and members of the library's board of directors learned the bookmaking techniques, so they will be able to lead similar workshops in the future. Second, leaders emerged among the workshop participants. These leaders could be a valuable resource for future workshops. Third, because the materials for this project were found locally, it shouldn't be difficult to replicate.