I wonder if I should do a 2016 highlights post. I did one for She Blossoms at which point I realised just how much She Blossoms had grown and how much it was no longer about me.
I’ve grown too. One sign of that is my ability to care about several different things without going completely crazy. If you know me, you know how much I care about literature, literacy, and lupus awareness.
I must admit though that in the last few weeks I’ve felt my heart break a little bit because of one of those. In late November, Start a Library asked me to support a campaign to raise funds for libraries. Now, Start a Library is an engine that fights the literacy crisis in Kenya by starting libraries in schools and training teachers and students to run reading for pleasure programs. If at this point you are wondering ‘What Literacy Crisis? ‘ please take some time and watch this video: https://youtu.be/cifn06aQ1oY
Now the child in that video is a real child, with real dreams and real hopes, but if at that age, in that level of schooling, she still cannot read material meant for children 5 years below her, what will happen to her? In just one year, she will be expected to sit down and answer questions in an examination written in a language she barely understands, let alone reads.
The problem is that this is not an isolated case. You can’t mark these children as outliers, say for example that they suffer learning difficulties. If in fact a child in the Kenyan education system has learning difficulties and is not visually or hearing challenged, then that child is more than likely doomed. In the latter case, there’s a chance they might get help in a special school. But that isn’t to say their situation is any better.
In a country where we are so used to things being broken, we need to start learning how to fix them ourselves. This is Start a Library’s vision. In many instances, Start a Library works with local communities to find solutions to the literacy crisis. In Makueni County, Start a Library partnered with the County government and the First Lady in raising funds, training teachers and students on library maintenance and on reading programs and in setting up monitoring and evaluation systems. This was a huge undertaking as 30 libraries were launched in one day on 29th November 2016.
Meanwhile, here in Nairobi, 3 schools are in dire need of Libraries. Rabai Road Primary School, Muranga Road Primary School and Arya Primary School. No child, and no school should be left behind.
It costs approximately 750,000/- to set up a library – books, training and monitoring. When I was asked to help the campaign this is roughly the amount we wanted to raise times 3 for the 3 schools.
I’d like to thank everyone who has responded to my whatsapp broadcasts, private messages, texts, tweets, call-outs, it means so much to me to see your names on the lists of donators and know that you care about literacy as much as I do. Thank you.
But I’m here again because I need your help. I want to get that library into Rabai Road Primary School in January. I’m pretty certain that we can do it, if we work together.
If you haven’t donated yet, please look into your pocket and see if there’s a ka-hundred or a ka-thau and Mpesa it to Paybill 202211, Acc Startalibrary.
I know loads of my friends have stretched out and donated not just to this but also to other causes I’ve sent your way and it means a lot that you do. If however, you feel sufficiently philanthropic, and there’s an extra five hundred somewhere, please help me get this Library to this school. Thank you so much!
This is our world, and some movements might seem like bleeding heart options, but I truly believe that we change the world one life at a time.
Your heave and push will help, and if you know someone/persons who can support this in a larger way send them this way. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org in case you/they would like more information about the Start a Library Program or about the Schools.
To support now, simply follow the instructions in the image below.
Donate by Mpesa Paybill 202211; Account Start a Library. To donate by card or PayPal, visit yetu.org/startalibrary
To see about the 101 Libraries already installed by Start a Library, visit startalibrary.org.