Background to our Charity

Literacy in a Box is the result of the vision of our Founding Chairman, Forbes Watson, a member of the Rotary Club of Roborough, Plymouth. ..Read more

Forbes’ vision came to fruition in partnership with a local charity Operation Sunshine ( OS ), who had been sending items of domestic value to communities in Zambia for many years. Speaking with OS before he  went on holiday to the game area of Zambia in 2004, Forbes was given the contact details of several ladies in Zambia with whom OS worked, to ensure that the many items sent in their container reached the right homes, hospitals and schools.

His vision was formed while on holiday in the South Luangwa Valley of Zambia, where he heard all about the way the Lodges were supporting local schools financially to ensure they had an  educated work force to recruit from for their industry – the only work of significance in the valley. He visited local schools and was struck by the absence of the basics of education, school materials. He confirmed with the lodges that this was a significant need and having spoken with teachers to elicit what was needed and armed with this information, he returned home determined to do something to help the children.

Discussing the options with his club Roborough and OS, a decision was made that the club would fund two boxes worth of school materials. Then, thanks to the generosity of ShelterBox, two of their red and blue boxes were filled with the items requested by the teachers and loaded on the next container due to be sent by OS. So it was in April 2006 that the first two Literacy Boxes were sent to the South Luangwa Valley where he had been on holiday and the charity was born. As hoped, the Literacy Boxes were a resounding success and as awareness of what we were doing spread and funds started to come in, we became a Registered Charity in 2007.

The charity started with the simple aim of sending Literacy Boxes to a small number of schools. This aim was simply to try to ensure that a regular supply of school resources would lead to uninterrupted educational progress. However, as the boxes were being sent to areas of abject poverty, adjacent communities saw the benefits of the Literacy Box and it became impossible to keep them restricted to just a few schools. The result is that 45 schools have now received Literacy Boxes and although we are happy that more children have benefitted, what we have sent is a drop in the ocean of their real need. Visits to Zambia in 2013 and 2018 have indicated that a school of 1000 pupils would need around 300 Literacy Boxes a year just for their exercise books!!

In summary, we do what we can with the funding we receive, in the knowledge that we are making a difference to many orphans and poor children who have been able to access school because of the Literacy Box and its contents, with your ongoing help we can do more!!