Many imagine expensive government initiatives to be the key to ending poverty. But studies conducted by UNCESCO have proven that for many impoverished people, literacy is key to reaching a higher standard of living. So what does that mean for African countries, which have some of the highest rates of illiteracy in the world?
Especially in rural areas in Africa, quality education is hard to come by. In countries like Ghana, where up to 70% of rural inhabitants are illiterate, there is a shortage of educational funding and most resources go towards teachers and classrooms. There is simply no place in the budget for supplementary reading materials, let alone a library.
But libraries and additional reading materials are an essential part of any education. Textbooks can only teach a child so much, and outside reading is critical to developing a student’s literacy, curiosity, and confidence.
With the help of donor volunteers, Empower Playgrounds is partnering with the African Library Project (ALP) to ensure that every school we install a carousel in also gets a library. ALP is an award-winning nonprofit that has experience installing 1900 libraries across Africa. They take care to ensure that the donated books are quality and reach the children safely, as well as train African school teachers to maintain the libraries. All that volunteers need to do is provide the books.
Here’s how it works:
EPI selects and reviews 5 schools with ALP to install libraries in
EPI donors volunteer to organize and oversee a book drive to collect donations for a specific Ghanaian school
1000 books are selected and sorted so that ⅔ are picture books and ⅓ chapter books, to ensure material for all reading levels
Money is fundraised to cover shipping expenses
Books are shipped to New Orleans ALP warehouse, and later to Ghanaian schoolhouse
So far, EPI has not only helped deliver 10,000 books, but has also installed 10 libraries, complete with shelves, tables, and reading areas. And as long as we keep installing merry-go-rounds, we’re going to make sure that libraries remain an essential part of our mission. After all, we began installing merry-go-rounds so that children would have light to read by. Now we can make sure that they always have something to read.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org get involved with future library projects.