Guest Blog from Start A Library
The Nobelity Project wanted to share this special post by our friend Dafrose Ambani who works with Start a Library Trust, a new initiative with our longtime friends at Storymoja in Kenya. Our team just wrapped a very productive series of school trips where we cut the ribbon on several new libraries with the help of Start a Library Trust. Dafrose wrote this reflection on those projects.
The world is such a magical place with beautiful and adventurous destinations. It is mesmerizing to see how much the mode of transportation has evolved to ensure ease in traveling to places like Paris, Dubai, London, the USA, Kenya and so on. I invite you to explore reading on this journey.
Reading is like travel. It allows one to travel to another time and place and meet new people. In reading, dreams are shared, imagination takes flight, and time doesn't actually exist.
Literacy is fundamental for learning and connecting with the world. Reading and writing empower learners to connect with society, achieve their dreams and experience the joy of a good book. But there are many communities where boys and girls do not receive an education, let alone learn basic literacy skills. What sort of future will those children have?
Chuma Primary School – Library Launch
With so much anticipation, on the morning of 2nd June 2023, the Nobelity Project restored the future of hundreds of learners and households! You know you're driving through a rural area when the murram roads are the order of the day, and you are met by fewer apartments and more homesteads along the way. That’s Laikipia for you: “Chuma Primary School,” the gate invited us, a government public primary school located at the heart of Laikipia County. Parents, learners, teachers, the priest and community members were already seated when we arrived. You could clearly tell there was an occasion from how their faces beamed joyfully.
Celebratory songs filled the air. Prayers and ululation went out in unison. The prolonged program and many speeches were filled with gratitude for the donations. There were not only one or two, or three reasons for the school to celebrate but four: a new library, a new ECDE classroom, a continued friendship with Ol-Pejeta Conservancy and a new friendship with the Nobelity Project.
Nobody can imagine that a school started in 1954, located near Nanyuki town and surrounded by multiple resorts, conservancies, and other economically strong features, does not have a crucial resource like a library. With a population of over 200 learners from ECD – Junior Secondary School and most of the learners drawn from the area, the school has been on an upward trajectory in the performance and development of the infrastructure. The learners and their parents looked so excited and eagerly waited to see the new look of their library. As the learners cleaned the library room, you could eardrop into their deep conversations; “Wow, these are many storybooks,” one of the girls shouted, “yes, all of them are now ours, " another shouted from across the room. The conversation continues until the room and the shelves are sparkling clean. Afterwards, they all aid in arranging the library. The transformation of the empty and the filled library is so clear!
A little past 2.00 pm, the library was officially handed over to the learners, the school and their parents. Everyone squeezed in to witness the occasion, feel the new desks and peruse through the storybooks. The event was nothing short of celebratory songs and stories to mark the start of a reading journey at the school. Chuma Primary School learners and their parents were excited to interact with the storybooks. Their faces glowed with smiles. We’re excited to announce library no. 284 at Chuma Primary School!!!
Bingwa Secondary School – Additional Book Donation
With the celebratory spirits still within us, we headed to Bingwa Secondary. One noticeable thing was the huge, well-arranged and stocked-up library space! A gorgeous space. A good learning environment can stimulate students to engage in the learning process, influence their behaviour, and assist in developing their interests and skills.
The library got circa 500 additional books. It will continue to ignite their curiosity and inculcate a reading culture in the school while teaching life skills.
Sunday started with a hearty breakfast at Aberdare’s Country Club. The sun shone perfectly, not too hot but enough! We were ready to dive into the world of stories at Muthuini Primary School. We couldn’t help but pick up the learners we met along the way - living a fun carpool adventure. We were greeted by the perfect blue sky, blue uniforms and, as the Muthuini learners say, ‘banana’ smiles. The school grounds were ready for not just an event but a reading festival. The Muthuini Water Tank Library was as perfect as ever. We got into business with the first order categorising Jackson’s books; may his soul rest in paradise.
We rearranged the library with enthusiastic learners’ help to create room
for the new collection and ensure easy access for all the grades. Simultaneously outside was an art session by selected learners to create different concepts to commemorate our extraordinary boy who loved to read. The entertainment was top-notch; somebody sign up these learners for some Broadway! Each learner got a book of THEIR OWN to take home— this was new to us as we’ve never issued books to learners beyond the library and really appreciate it. The school was generous enough to share a token of appreciation with the McCollum family the Kenyan way.
A special thank you to the McCollum family. Through reading Jackson’s collection, we believe the learners will continue celebrating his life and love for books.
We are grateful to the Nobelity Project for the continued partnership. Together, we will continue to inculcate a love for reading by establishing more school libraries,
Commitment Letters from Schools