Insteel Limited

When we come together, we educate our children, empower men & women and transform our communities. Through concerted efforts, partnerships and collaborations we touch the hearts, minds and lives of children from disadvantaged communities who would otherwise have limited opportunities in life. Working with likeminded visionaries, Start a Library, a Kenyan reading program combines storybooks, vibrant libraries, capacity building for teacher and student librarians and exciting reading promotion programs to improve literacy outcomes and make a lasting impact for children and communities. In the spirit of collaboration Kifaru Primary school received a library, courtesy of an investment from Insteel Limited, The Cottage School Kenya and Start a Library on Friday 22 June 2018.

Insteel smiles

This was the 144th library set-up by Start a Library in the quest to establish libraries in all schools across Kenya that lacks the facility. Since the launch of Kifaru library, the reading initiative has established four additional libraries bringing the tally to 148 schools across 14 counties impacting over 500,000 children in Kenya. Over 2,000 teacher librarians have been trained on basic library management and how to use storybooks as language textbooks and stories to teach life skills and introduce complex concepts to children. Over 1000 students have also been trained to serve as Junior Reading Ambassadors and library prefects. They support the teacher in running the libraries and encourage their peers to attend library lessons and read the books.

Insteel Limited, Kenya’s leading Steel Pipes and Sections manufacturing company is a member of the Safal Group of companies, the largest manufacturer of metal roofing products in Eastern and Central Africa and the leading producer of roofing products in Africa. The company has a huge reputation of supporting communities in which it operate, especially providing access to education. When Start a Library invited them to support establishment of a library at Kifaru, a primary school within a walking distance from their plant, they not only mobilized resources for the books, but also created time to join the over 1,500 children in celebrating the library, books and reading through fun reading activities.  This was very encouraging to the children who were eager to learn their various careers and roles in the company.  

Children from The Cottage School Kenya learnt about the KIfaru library project and requested to be involved as part of their Service Learning Project. They reached out to their friends, peers and family members and raised enough money to purchase 100 books within two days! This was a rare incident where children came out to support their peers by fundraising, mobilizing books and joining them in reading activities.

Kifaru primary received a total of 1,200 books serving over 1,500 children. In a glamorous library inauguration and launch event attended by pupils, teachers, and parents, over 30 employees from Insteel Limited spared the time to join the children in celebrating this lasting gift. The children sat silence, patiently waiting for the library to be opened so that they could start reading. Majority of them could not hide their excitement for the new library facility. This was the first time they had a library full of books. They danced and staged inspiring performances to the guests as a showcase of their talent and appreciation for the library facility. The speeches from the teachers, invited guests and student prefects all highlighted the importance of storybooks, as language textbooks and tools for improving understanding of the language of classroom instruction and examination (English and Kiswahili).

Since the launch of the library, we continue to receive significant requests from thousands of schools across the country that lacks the library facility. We count on the likeminded visionaries whose partnerships and support enable us to reach and serve millions of Kenyan children. What Insteel Limited and Cottage school Kenya did may just be a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would not be complete without their contribution. The children of Kifaru primary will forever be grateful for the lasting gift of a library. We believe that the library will become a great hub for collaborative learning and knowledge creation, and it will aid the pupils to be pioneers of readers, thinkers, explorers, leaders and doers.

Going forward, start a library, is putting in measures to take advantage of digital technology to enhance access to books. The program has spearheaded a digitization initiative that has seen them convert 200 titles in digital formats, worked with the publishing partner, Storymoja who have opened an online bookstore: and currently developing audio books which will soon be circulated in schools. Start a Library is currently testing its digital libraries, which will soon be integrated in primary schools across the country that already have tablets thanks to the Kenyan government school laptop project. Start a Library continuously invite individuals, charities and organizations to support our vision of starting libraries in all schools in Kenya and getting a book in every hand of a child.

Insteel staff

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