‘’I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.’’  - Maya Angelou

Mashujaa Day on 20th October is a day that has been set aside for Kenyans to remember their heroes. In 2017, all roads led to Lower Kabete Primary School as we celebrated the late Professor Kofi Awoonor, our literary hero with the launch of the first hero library. This was a very special occasion for his children who wanted to honor their father’s memory by giving children a chance to read, learn and explore new realities.

aLower Kabete Primary School is a mixed day school that was established in 1969. It is located along Kabete Road just next to Kenya School of Government. The school has a population of 700 pupils, most of who come from the nearby Gachie slum. Most of their parents and guardians are semi-literate, and they don’t really understand the importance of reading in the development of their children. Consequently, they don’t buy their children storybooks or even encourage them to find opportunities to read for pleasure.

It is precisely this gap we sought to fill by starting a library at the school filled with 1,500 storybooks. Even though it was a school holiday, the pupils knew that the addition of a library in the school was a vital turning point in their lives, and they were at the school by 7:00am.The scouts even came in uniform to honor the momentous occasion. There was a palpable air of excitement around the pupils as they got ready for the big event.

Among the people who attended were the chief guest Muthoni Garland,representatives of the school’s Board of Management, parents, teachers and pupils. The prevailing message from all the speakers at the event was that the pupils had now been given the world through the storybooks in the library and it was now up to them to utilize this amazing gift by reading and learning every day. As per the head teacher’s words, reading would not only help them improve their writing and comprehension skills, but it would also help them to imagine and explore new worlds andpossibilities.

books in the libraryThe climax of the ceremony was when the library door was finally opened and the pupils got their first look at the brand new books in their new school library. With so many to choose from, it was a struggle for many of them to choose just one book to read, and they could be seen moving from one side of the library to another with multiple books in hand. Guests and teachers were also not left behind as they also found their own stories to read and enjoy. In a matter of minutes, the library was full and the pupils found a creative solution of utilizing the available space by arranging kangas and cushions on the ground to sit and read on. Muthoni Garland also led a read aloud session in the library, and it was quite an eye opener to the pupils who now had a different way of reading and understanding their favorite book.

Going forward, we will conduct a teacher and student librarians training at the school when the school term resumes. Among the things we will teach them include how to conduct library lessons and make them exciting for the pupils, how to create an effective book borrowing system and hoe to preserve the books. We will also help them come up with a library master timetable, as well as a set of library rules.

‘’I can now be a little hero thanks to all the books in the library.’’ - Grace, class 5 pupil

joy of booksEvery child wants to have a hero they can believe in, but what most of them don’t know or don’t believe is that there’s a hero inside. For the late Professor Kofi Awoonor, his heroism was evident in his writing where he fearlessly tackled the many big issues plaguing the world today. He was also very committed to advocating for literacy and empowerment of youth. He inspired millions from Africa and across the world to use their spaces and influence for the betterment of society. It is this spirit that we want to keep alive by starting 78 Hero libraries in his honor. Our hope is that the stories within will inspire the pupils to dream big and reach deep inside themselves to unleash the hero within.



‘’Pan-Africanists say ‘the pen is mightier than the sword.’ My father may not have been a military man, but he fought, he fought with his pen, he fought with his words. He fought against injustice, oppression, bigotry, colonialism, and even though his life was taken by an act of terrorism, the forces he fought against his whole life have been unable to silence his voice.He and other great national heroes, whether literary or military, live on in the works they left behind, the monuments to freedom, the people and nations they inspired.’’ - Afetsi Awoonor

 ‘’To the family and friends of the late Professor Kofi Awoonor, a big THANK YOU for the library. It has inspired our children to read. We remember him this day as our Shujaa’’ - BOM Chairman

‘’Because of the library, I will grow up reading and learning about new worlds. Asanteni sana!’’ - Zawadi, class 6 pupil

‘’Education is a light in every child’s life. Thank you so much for the library.’’ - Mercy, class 5 Swahili teacher

‘’Thank you for bringing so many storybooks to the library. I will read them ALL. You are now my hero!’’- John, class 7 pupil

‘’Thank you for bringing two cultures together in the love of reading.  Professor Awoonor’s legacy lives on through the library.’’- Jane Nyongesa, Deputy Head teacher

‘’The library will make it possible for children to read and become tomorrow’s heroes.’’- Peter, class 6 English teacher

‘’To the family of Prof. Kofi Awoonor, words cannot express our gratitude. May God bless you as you continue the good work of the great HERO, your dad. Reading culture will continue in our school forever.’’- Margaret Onyango, Head teacher

‘’I now have the world in my little hands and I can dream. Thank you for the library.’’- Martin, class 8 pupil


We have already launched the first hero library, and our plan is to launch the remaining 77 libraries in 300 days in 2018. We are calling on all likeminded individuals and organizations to support us as we create new African heroes through libraries and the love of books. Support us today by sending your donations HERE.

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