LIBRARIES: A BRIDGE CONNECTING TWO WORLDS.

To refresh your mind, this inspirational story began in September 2017. One of Storymoja Festival’s 2017 visiting artists, Turk Pipkin (an American film maker, actor, award winning author and founder of Nobelity project), delivered a film workshop at Brookhouse-Runda Campus and shared films about the exciting school library projects he has undertaken at the Aberdares in Nyeri County. This inspired the school management and students to support Kasarini primary, a neighboring school barely 100M from their school, to get a library.

For a long time, younger pupils were forced to share one textbook between four, while the older children had one between three. They were often in classes of 60 pupils to one teacher in rooms with bare concrete floors, the pupils had mainly communicated in sheng because most of them didn’t know how to speak correct English, and this even transferred to their written communication, making them get consistently low grades in their exams. With the new library at the school, filled with exciting and age-appropriate storybooks, the learning outcomes of the pupils will definitely improve.

From the luxury of living as the Runda's darling prince to the unkempt and dangerous slums of Kasarini- where tales of criminals, robberies and unspoken deaths unfold. Two worlds kept apart by social status, authority, and wealth. A fine and silver line keeps the inferior away from the noble, shanty houses are a familiar sight across the picturesque Runda area, with the residents living in Kasarini slums just a stone throw away  having limited access to basic services, such as water, electricity and toilets.

March 7th, 2018 was the big day for Kasarini primary school. At the inaugural book drive championed by Start-A-Library and Brookhouse School Runda pupils. It was an exciting day for the Kasarini pupils not only because they got the gift of books but because the thought counted.

Njeri, aged 14,a pupil at Kasarini leaped forward excitedly at the books spread on the table. She was hesitant, not so sure whether to speak to us or just stare from a far, other pupils noticed her and slowly started to move closer and fearful that she may be in trouble for just staring, inferiority complex playing a major part, they always believed that nothing could be given for free, shocked, they hid behind poles that were used to erect the shade, once in a while they would giggle and hide behind each other smiling and expressing their happiness.

    

She finally gathered courage to draw near, hope beamed and lightened her face, she is orphaned, but books give her a reason to hope for a better tomorrow.

“I want to be a doctor when I leave school,' she says in not so sure voice and in broken English. “I want to help people who are sick. My mother died from cancer when I was six. I know she’s proud of me.” She chimed with her eyes teary.

Picking “Bejeweled Africa” by the African writer Wanja Njama, Njeri knows that literacy is fundamental to achieving her ambition, and besides, “reading is more interesting than anything else”, she opines.

The once fearful Njeri could be seen mingling with her fellow pupils from Brookhouse, excitement written all over her face, gesturing maybe to explain to them the story she read in Bejeweled Africa, this was the picture all through the day, all the pupils both from Brookhouse and Kasarini primary coming together, a sight to behold.

Reading is essential for children; it helps them develop initiative, originality and character, as well as providing varied entertainment and invaluable knowledge. Reading also opens up new possibilities and instills good values, laying the foundation for a better tomorrow. The lack of access to books is a cruel blow to the pupil. What can replace sitting in a library with a stack of books?

It is said that children are a product of their environment, now that the library has been commissioned and stocked, this was a welcome relief for parents, teachers and pupils, the star that was once dim had gained light once again, the sleeping giant had awaken and it was just a matter of time before other schools felt their force performance wise. Since storybooks are language textbooks, we believe that once the library is fully equipped, there will be a significant improvement in their creativity, critical thinking, confidence, reading and writing skills.

A dream finally came to fruition, one mile covered; the library is a welcome relief that will open a world of unlimited possibilities and opportunities for the children. If you give a child a fish, you feed him only once. If you teach a child to fish, he is fed forever, LET’S PUT A BOOK IN EVERY HAND.

Testimonials.


“I’ll now be able to read and have the mastery of the language (English) I’ve always thought was
meant for a specific group of people.” Martha Wanja – Pupil,Kasarini Primary School,Class 7


"Asanteni Sana, thank you very much to the partners, Storymoja and Brookhouse School Runda,
words cannot express my gratitude but the performance results you’ll be getting from Kasarini
Primary will be my way of saying thank you".
Alice Muchiri - Head Teacher, Kasarini Primary School.


"Successful efforts include coming together as a community to help the needy pupils to buy
new books and/or donate gently used books, we will keep doing this until we are satisfied that
our good neighbours, Kasarini primary are well equipped to learn. " Lea Gilbert – Head
Teacher, Brookhouse school Runda.


“We're hoping to see the community pull together again in support of education and libraries,”
Kasarini Location Chief

THE BOOK DRIVE IN PICTURES.

KASARINI COLLAGEKASARINI COLLAGE 1KASARINI COLLAGE 2

 

 

 

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