Kenya is on the verge of something great. Something exciting. Something quite epic. On the 9th of October Kenya will embark on a journey that the world has never seen before. The world’s first collectively written book!

But like most things in life necessity is the mother of invention. A silent crisis has gripped this country and it is in the form of illiteracy. Despite record high attendance occasioned by free primary education, illiteracy still plagues many children across the country. The numbers are quite shocking. Less than a third of class three pupils have basic reading skills and 10 % of class 8 children can’t read class 2 English or Kiswahili. Children simply don’t have access to reading materials as evidenced by the fact that only 2% of Kenyan schools have libraries.

The beauty of this is in a homegrown solution that will involve every single Kenyan in a way the world has never seen before. For the first time in history, a book will be written collectively by a nation. Children are in need of stories to spur their creativity, imagination and their intelligence and it will be up to every Kenyan to heed this noble call.

Led by Chela, this story is set to change those statistics. Chela is a ten year-old girl who has taken it upon herself to collect stories for herself and the more than ten million children like her who don’t have access to libraries. And she is asking every single person to contribute to these collective works of art. The words of a people, by a people and for a people. A chance to tell Kenya’s stories collectively for a future generation.

The campaign, dubbed “Story for Chela” is spearheaded by “Start a Library”, an initiative of Storymoja. “Start a Library” will be the first campaign hosted on the Yetu Initiative e-philanthropy platform. The Yetu Initiative, which empowers local communities to drive the priorities and solutions that best address local development needs, is backed by USAID, the Aga Khan Foundation and various other partners to facilitate communal giving and problem solving. The goal of the Story for Chela campaign is to raise Sh. 30 million in 90 days to build 100 libraries. And this gives the nation a unique way of raising the money.

This campaign is poised to bring a nation together in contributing both money and words to what is undoubtedly a very worthy cause. A world first. A book like no other. So ladies and gentlemen get your creative juices flowing and your words ready. The once in a lifetime writing begins at www.yetu.org/startalibrary. For as little as Sh.10 you will be making history one word at a time. Write your story for Chela.

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