Human rights advocate Mary Krug Ndlovu has dedicated close to 50 years of her life to the betterment of living standards for people in Zambia and Zimbabwe. She has lived in Africa since 1966, applying her distinguished academic achievements and experiences to making a significant difference in the daily lives of men, women, and children. For 11 years, she worked with the Legal Resources Foundation, training paralegals, developing training courses in human rights issues for police and prison officers, running legal workshops, and helping individuals, particularly women, with practical legal problems—all the while earning a law degree by correspondence. She established the Edward Ndlovu Library in 1992 in memory of her late husband, thereby employing local people and promoting literacy in a community with no access to books or resource materials. In honour of her leadership, she received an Old Girls Life Achievement Award from Havergal College in 2004.
Currently the library employs 11 staff members on a full time basis. The director is a graduate librarian and he is supported by a graduate responsible for managing the public library in Gwanda town. Two library assistants with certificates in librarianship support that programme. A graduate in education manages the schools project and a diplomaed teacher operates the study circles programme, assisted by two community workers. The remaining staff is support staff that provide administrative, cleaning, photo-copying, messenger and general maintenance services.
A high percentage of our direct funding comes from overseas donors in Europe and North America. They cover between 80 and 85% of our expenditure. The rest comes from income generation within the library through photo-copying charges, internet charges, lease of space and chairs for meetings, subscriptions and fines. Our local committee undertakes fund-raising on a small scale, and there are several local individual donors who contribute small amounts.
At present we receive no funding from national government or local government. The Gwanda Municipality has always been supportive and has assisted whenever they could, but since 2000, all publicly funded services have collapsed and the council has not been able to spare any funds.
The public library in town is used by all sectors of the community – tertiary students, secondary school students, primary school children, civil servants, professionals and business people and others, for both leisure and professional reading and research. A book box is deposited at the prison, and our schools co-ordinator visits the children’s and the maternity wards at the hospital and visits schools to provide remedial assistance to children who have reading problems. Schools may register as institutional members and undertake bulk borrowing for a longer period.
The book boxes are housed in rural primary schools where the main users are school children and teachers. Some secondary school pupils also use the book boxes and community members are also able to borrow from the book box.
A trustee, A.B. Naik, opens boxes of books from well-wishers and friends in Canada
Opening of new library wing in 2009 by British and Canadian Ambassadors and Minister of Education