Loving Through Literacy

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GILBERT, Ariz. - A Gilbert woman has found a way to make the future brighter for some kids in a country where there hasn't always been a lot of hope. 3TV got a chance to see how she's doing that all just by opening a book.

“She [Princess] has become my face because she even has a Liberian dollar on her because her family couldn't believe that somebody was just going to let her use that book,” Sheri Wang said.

Princess is just of the many children in Yekepa, Liberia, that Wang is helping with her organization called Loving Through Literacy. Yekepa is a remote village located eight hours from Liberia's capital of Monrovia.

“Living here in America where education is a privilege, it's a right, learning to read is a right and in so many countries it's not,” Wang said.
 
A 14-year civil war made educational resources in that country very limited. It was brought to the attention of this Gilbert mother of eight by a friend at the African Bible College in the nearby area.

“Their national average is five students to one book,” Wang said.

In other cases, Wang said teachers are only a few lessons ahead of their students.

“We just have a heart and a passion for helping marginalized children and adults to be able to read, have access to books and supplies and the needs they have to be in school,” Wang said.

Her organization was able to make some of that possible on her first trip to Yekepa back in February. With the help of Valley school book drives, fundraisers and donations, Wang has been able to supply thousands of books and school supplies.
 
“Honestly I was treated like a celebrity,” Wang said. “I mean they were so thrilled because to them reading is a gift.”

Besides providing the tools to read, Loving Through Literacy is training Liberian teachers in a basic phonics program for the classroom. Wang brought three Valley teachers to help out in the process last month.
 
“We have 38 Liberian teachers or education majors at the African Bible College,” Wang said. “They're extremely dedicated. I've heard that some of them have walked as much as six miles to come get their training.”

Dedication that Wang and her organization also plan to give as long possible.

“My heart's desire is to have a community library right in the village center where kids can come get tutoring, teachers can come,” Wang said. “We can become a resource center and a place for study time.”

Loving Through Literacy is also serving the community of San Carlos on the Apache Reservation. For more information on how to get involved, log onto www.lovingthroughliteracy.com.