A library is a passport to wonders, glimpses into other lives, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of all human beings. It opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, and is one of our best hopes against hopelessness, despair, and ignorance.

We celebrated World Read Aloud Day on 1st February, 2018 at Dr. Ribeiro Parklands School at the launch of the second hero library in honor of the late Prof. Kofi Awoonor. As one of Africa’s most prolific literary voices, he was well known for his might with a pen, and his commitment to promoting literacy among children and the youth.

Dr. Ribeiro Parklands School exudes a rich history that spans from colonial and post-colonial past. The founding fathers of the school, the late Dr. A.C.I de Souza and Dr.Ribeiro, combined efforts and started a school to cater for interest of their Goan community members. Over time, the school grew to accommodate children from other communities. It also became an integrated school with a fully functional cerebral palsy unit with 120 pupils currently. Most of the school’s pupil population comes from Ngara and Deepsea slums, areas that are characterized by poverty, violence and drug abuse. Most of the parents are casual workers who hardly make enough to provide the basic needs, let alone purchase storybooks. The children end up grossly disadvantaged with no storybooks at home or school. 

Parents, well-wishers and the nearby community started streaming in to be part of the library launch event from as early as 8:00am. A news team from BBC Newsday was also in attendance to record and celebrate the big day with us. The day was full of smiles from the pupils; the head teacher wore a coronet decked with flowers to signify a happy day. The best band of the school created sweet sensations by its tunes of modern songs. The party of jolly young boysand girls began to dance and twist to the tunes of the band. All the songs, dances and theatre performances were a testimony of the hunger for stories and the anticipated change the library was going to make.

Soon, it was time to cut the tape and we launched the new library amid ululations and thank you speeches from the head teacher, BOG rep and PTA Chairman. In no time, the library was crowded and the pupils were full of smiles and overjoyed as they sat down to begin their literacy journey.

In the words of the head teacher, abject poverty coupled with other associated challenges continues to define the story for most of the children at the school. It is a familiar one that is reflected in the way they compose a sentence while writing or speak in English. It is mainly characterized by uncertainty, fear and to some extent, a sense of hopelessness. Her belief was that regular reading would gradually transform this story to one of hope and new beginnings. The head teacher highlighted the value of the library in improving the overall reading, writing and comprehension skills of the pupils. She cited that the books would stimulate the children to imagine, discover and explore new ideas and narratives.

 

                                                      EVENT IN WORDS

‘’To the family of Prof. Kofi Awoonor, words cannot express our gratitude. The best kind of friends are those that enter your life, and help you to see a blue sky where before there was a cloudy sky. They are the ones that have so much faith in you that you start having faith in yourself.  These are the friends we should be grateful for. God bless you’’

- Irene Ngugi, Head teacher

 ‘’To the family and friends of the late Professor Kofi Awoonor, a big THANK YOU for the library. There’s nothing better than a good person. They can change your whole day. They can change your whole life, he’s our Shujaa’’   

- BOM Chairman

‘’You have given me a new life. Thank you so much for the library.’’

- Margaret, class 5 pupil

‘’I never saw this coming; it’s the beginning of achieving my dream. Thank you.’’ 

 - Marvin, class 8 pupil

‘’Because of the library, I will grow up reading and learning about new worlds. Asanteni Sana!’’  

- Maulid, class 6 pupil

‘The storybooks are very nice and I will read them all. You are my heroes!’’  

- Natalie, class 7 pupil

‘’I can now also be a hero thanks to all the books in the library.’’   

- Gadhi, class 5 pupil

 Millions of children are in dire need of libraries. Stories are a fun way for children to imagine great things, take them to many places and ultimately transform their lives. As part of our project dubbed '78 hero libraries in 300 days' we are continuously fundraising to start these libraries by the end of September, 2018. We have launched 2 already, with 76 to go. With your support, we are sure that we will reach our set target and even surpass it.

This month, we are specifically seeking donations to start a library at City Primary School located in Parklands with a population of 650 pupils. We understand the access to books is of extreme importance to the development of our kids, and we want to launch the library with at least 1,500 books. Be part of our library marathon by donating your time, skills and finances HERE .

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