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Short report on the start of CBN

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How it all began - and how fast it sprinted off!

Children’s Book Network turned out to be a fast developer. Born in January 2012, after a short gestation in the minds of founders Gçina Mhlophe, Lesley Beake and Sindiwe Magona, it has enjoyed a momentous first year. Now we look forward, with some excitement, to the future.

It could not have happened without many friends. The name says it all – Children’s Book Network – and it is the Network that is going to enable us to bring books to children and children to books as we set out to do. There has not been a person or organization we have approached that has hesitated. ‘What can we do? How can we help.’ We are grateful to each and every one who has joined us in getting things going.

An exploratory meeting with Rose-Marie Lindfors and Anna Hallgren, in South Africa from Sweden on a fact-finding mission at the end of last year, led us to be part of their application for funding from SIDA and Swedish Arts and Culture. Their faith in our ability to deliver drove us forward. The successful outcome of the application saw us hosting pilot workshops to show that we could meet their expectations. Friends led us to Rotary Club Cape of Good Hope. Other friends led us to Rotary Skelleftea.

Rotary Club Cape of Good Hope led us to Richard Parsons, then President, and his advice, energy and interest have given us wings. Every week we follow a new connection to another place where we were not expecting to go … Red Hill informal settlement, Kayamundi Township, Clanwilliam Living Landscape Project … The Cederberg Municipality … and with every step we make new friends and the network grows.

We will do this. We will become an agent for change in the important field of reading, stories and children - with a lot of help from our friends.