In 2007, LLL founders Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg lived in Mali in West Africa. Casey had received a Fulbright grant to research the role of Islam in the education system and for several months she and Steven both taught English and art at an alternative school outside of the capital run by the Malian nonprofit L’Institut Pour L’Education Populaire (IEP).
Through her research and their experiences in the classroom and daily life, Casey and Steven came to believe that having the opportunity to learn in the language in which you dream/bargain/joke is essential to a student’s success and sense of self-worth.
While people within the Malian school system are not lacking the will to include local language texts in their classrooms, they are certainly lacking the resources. IEP is at the forefront of addressing this issue by creating books, printing them, and training teachers in how to use them. This is why Casey and Steven partnered with IEP for LLL’s first project, a middle/high school level book which Casey wrote called “Sababu Man Dogo” which takes place in Mali. It was translated into Bamanankan by their tutor and local language advocate Lamine Bagayoko.
Upon their return to the States, Casey and Steven raised nearly $5000 to print more than 1300 books for Malian students.
The wonderful support they received for this project from family, friends and strangers alike has inspired them to expand LLL’s reach to pursue similar projects in other places that face similar language issues like Senegal and Morocco.
If you are interested in reading the book in English (or Bamanankan!), please email us and we will send you an electronic copy.