Prairieville Primary 5th graders get thank you from Africa - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

5th graders get in-person thank you from Africa

(Source: Children's Cup) (Source: Children's Cup)
(Source: Children's Cup) (Source: Children's Cup)
Image of the books collected (Source: Children's Cup) Image of the books collected (Source: Children's Cup)
A container full of books arrives in Zimbabwe (Source: Children's Cup) A container full of books arrives in Zimbabwe (Source: Children's Cup)

Some kids in Ascension Parish have made a lasting impression overseas. Prairieville Primary students were behind a big effort to supply books to children in Africa.

Fifth graders at Prairieville Primary were just hitting the books when they got a surprise lesson from overseas.

Sibusiso Hlatshwayo, Sibu for short, is teaching the kids how to speak his native language.

"I think for you, you say ‘mom.' We say mah ee," Hlatshwayo said.

But it's the lesson behind his visit that's really caught on. The students were behind a big effort to bring books, thousands of them to children in Africa.

Student, Ella Roussell said they were specially picked.

"I got a lot of fairy tales and fables because those were my favorite books, and I thought a lot of the little girls and boys would enjoy those," Roussell said.

Alpha Club sponsors and teachers Mae Stevens and Shaneka Burnett spearheaded a book drive to help a Prairieville non-profit called Children's Cup, which helps children in Africa.  

"Our first goal was 1,000 books when I emailed the principal, and when it started to roll in our number kept increasing," Stevens said.

In one week, Prairieville Primary collected nearly 5,000 books. The books included everything from picture books to high school level.

Sibu said to see the smiles on their faces as they hold their books for the first time is something he just can't explain.

"Oh, wow! It was a lot of celebration," Hlatshwayo said.

Susan Rodgers with Children's Cup said the grand gesture made by the students is making waves in education overseas.

We're able to help them develop their reading skills and excel in their education so they can grow up and get good jobs and get out of the cycle of poverty that they're stuck in right now," Rodgers said.

In giving, the students are getting something in return too.

"I learned it's not just about you and your education. It's also about all the kids around you," Roussell said.

Hlatshwayo said their generosity will have a lasting impact.

"I thank you for making a difference in my country," Hlatshwayo said.

Prairieville Primary's drive raised the second highest number of book donations in the nation for Children's Cup.

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