Tek Time fi Read Project
“Tek Time fi Read” means “Take time to read” in Belizean Kriol
To encourage a love for reading in Belize by making free and affordable books available to children & teens and to create spaces and events that make reading fun
HOW it all began...
The youth members of the Belmopan Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program (BYSEP) regularly do service-oriented projects to help their community. They discuss issues that their community is facing and how they can solve them. During one of these discussions (in May 2018), the youth decided to take on the goal of making reading fun and help encourage a love for reading in Belizean children and teens.
There is no doubt that there is a connection between early reading and later success with comprehension, language development, creativity, and academics. Reading fiction also gives children in tough situations a chance to escape. When the BYSEP youth consulted about how to encourage young people to read more, they realized that there is limited access to selections of affordable and entertaining books. As a result, for many children, the only books they see are their school books. Because of this, reading can be seen as boring and not something to do in their free time. The youth decided that they needed to find a way to get fun books into young people’s homes and created the various events to make that happen.
The group decided that maybe if children and teens in Belize had access to FUN books they would start reading more and see reading as FUN!
They started requesting new and used children’s/teen books from organizations and groups in the US and quickly collected over 3,500 books. To distribute the books, they decided to create a fun free book festival where families could bring their children to play games and win books. The festival was a huge success and the “Tek Time fi Read” (Kriol for “Take time to read”) event became an on-going project that went on to:
- bring over 11,000 children’s books into the country
- hold another giant book festival in Belmopan
- renovate the Belmopan library
- hold a library open day and book fair at the Belmopan library
- hold a book festival in the village of Seine Bight
- distribute thousands of books to families, schools, libraries, and other programs.
- win the National Youth Award’s “Volunteerism” award for this and other projects they do
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where do you get the books?
Awesome people send us new and used books. Our regular contributors are Elizabeth’s Books Across Borders, Beams of Light Jr Youth Group in VA, and the Baha’i Community in PA. We have also received amazing books from scout troops, families, churches, resorts, embassies, schools, libraries, and people from all over the US and Belize. We also purchase books from thrift stores and wholesales with donated funds. We always need books so find out how you can donate here.
How do you distribute books? Do you have a shop or a place I can buy books?
Our books are distributed in several ways but we do not have a regular shop where they can be purchased. At some of our events, books can, however, be purchased along with the books we give out for free. Follow our Facebook page for upcoming events. Our goal is to get the books into as many Belizean homes, schools, and libraries as possible.
HOW WE DISTRIBUTE BOOKS:
- Give books to schools, programs, and libraries, around the country
- Hold fun books festivals and fairs with games, activities, book giveaways
- Have cheap book sales to makes books affordable (and raise project funds)
- Have monthly giveaways
- Partner with other organizations to get books distributed books to children who need them
Are you a business?
Nope – just a fun project run by a group of Belizean young people. All money generated from the project goes back into the project.
What kinds of books do you have? Do you have adult books?
We do not have adult books – our mission is to encourage children and teens to read. The books we have depend on what our donors send us. Mostly storybooks, chapter books, picture books, and a mix of other popular children’s books. They range from new to well-used.
How can I get books for my school or program?
How can I send you books or support the project?
What does Tek Time fi Read mean?
Tek Time fi Read is Belizean Kriol for “Take time to read” or “Take time for reading”. The organizers wanted to include their language in the name but still make readable to others so they used the English spelling for “Time” & “Read”.