Pupils of Mathare Community Outreach (MCO) Joy Primary School have come out to express their delight after the Yetu Start a Library initiative installed a new library last week, the first one among the 100 new libraries the programme intends to establish in public schools before the end of the year.

Days after the library was installed, the pupils have used every available opportunity to stream to the library to sample and read the over 1000 storybook titles that were stocked in shelves by the Start a Library team and partners.

“Since I joined the school six years ago, we have not had a library or even storybooks to read. And this has made us to face a lot of challenges especially in writing good compositions and Insha. We have had also problems in expressing ourselves fluently in English,” 12 year-old Standard Six Hosni Kangwana noted. “But now I think this is going to change since now we have storybooks to read.”

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His schoolmate, Ian Duncan Odak, a 14 year-old Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidate was in agreement that the storybooks will improve the literacy of the pupils and improve their performance in exams. “Lack of storybooks to read has affected our creativity and ability to write good compositions. Storybooks are useful because apart from reading them for pleasure, they help improve one’s grammar and sentence construction,” said Ian. “It is unfortunate for me and other KCPE candidates that we have a library now, just a few days before we sit for our KCPE. I wish it could have come earlier because having access to storybooks would have improved our languages. I envy the pupils coming before us because they now have access to lots of storybooks. Storybooks will keep them more informed, knowledgeable and busy because we even don’t have a playground.”

The school’s Director Daniel Ogutu was also grateful for Start a Library for picking his school to be the first beneficiary out of the 100 public schools set to benefit once individuals and corporates donate cash to the initiative that has set its eyes to raise Ksh 30 million to before December 8, 2015.

“We are extremely thankful to Start a Library initiative and its partners for setting up a stocked library in our school. This is going to boost the performance of our pupils in a big way, since most of them come from disadvantaged families. You have indeed make a big difference in the lives of these learners and I once again say a big ‘Thank You’ for your humble consideration and immense contribution.”

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Mr Ogutu said the onus is now on them to mobilise the parents and teachers to help the children get to school and use the books.

A fortnight ago, the Yetu Start a Library ambassador, 10 – year-old girl Chela partnered with Dr Auma Obama to rally Kenyans to support the initiative by being part of the first ever book written by a nation at a function held at Farasi Lane Primary School in Nairobi. Individuals, schools or even corporates can contribute words to the first ever collectively written book by a nation and then donate Ksh10 for every word contributed.

You may donate your story to the #StoryForChela campaign via http://yetu.org/startalibrary or direct cash donations via Mpesa Paybill Number 202211, Acc. Start a Library.

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