The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” Dr. Seuss.

The best gift that you can ever give to a child and be rest assured that it’ll last a lifetime is a book, on 16th Jan. 2018, hundreds of children from Kaumone primary schools received a library courtesy of Buildings and Books, Bookmax, RAAW Trust and Start a Library.

Initially, the ratio of children to a book was very high at 6:1 which meant that, technically six pupils would jostle to read a book.

The school is situated in Itulo- rural village in Igembe Central Constituency, Meru County. This is a remote area about 30 minutes drive from the Meru-Maua Rd. It is very difficult to access the schools given the poor road network. Most people here are farmers, and the main cash crop is Miraa. The biggest challenge within the community is poverty, miraa abuse, illiteracy and the culture of female genital mutilation (FGM), which leads to increased school dropouts and low transition rates, especially among the girls. Kaumone Primary was selected by Buildings and Books from a list of over 800 schools from Meru County in need of a library facility.

The pupils’ literacy level had deteriorated so much that they couldn’t construct a basic sentence in English, the books we provided are age appropriate and would ensure that the pupils learnt tenses and would be confident to converse in English.

It was a day full of excitement,the pupils sang and danced,the joy that filled the air could be felt miles away. After the cutting of the ribbon, the children could not leave the library, a clear manifestation of the hunger and desire to read the books. The teachers and parents were equally excited and could not wait to get a chance to see the books.

We noted that it was important to continuously engage and involve the parents and entire school community in the running of the library and ensure that the library development becomes a key agenda during board of management meetings.

It was a fulfilling venture and Buildings and Books left the school feeling excited and confident that the books will make a difference in the lives of the pupils and that the entire school community will appreciate and take full advantage of the resources in the library.

Going forward, Kaumone primary will now benefit from our ‘bringing books to life’ training for teachers, parents, school management and students. The training for the teachers will equip them with skills and build their capacity to serve as librarians. The training for school management will be to empower them to advocate and champion for the library development agenda in their school. Periodic sensitization forums will be conducted with the parents to reinforce the value storybooks and importance of reading with their children. The training for the students will be to equip them to serve as reading champions both in school and at home.

Start a Library is an initiative that aims to nurture a generation of lifelong readers and build a reading revolution by ensuring that every Kenyan child gets access to storybooks which are language textbooks and building blocks of literacy. Over 800 public schools in Meru County still lack a library facility and ate in dire need of storybooks. In partnership with the Government, other partners and stakeholders, we are fundraising to make this a reality.

Let’s put a book in every hand.


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