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A library with no books!

Nduluku Library Project

Kenya has long been considered one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most promising daughters. Within a few hours of arriving in Nairobi I could see why. The people are warm and friendly, the land picturesque and the wildlife exotic. On top of that, Kenya's location, railway system and ports give it a considerable economic advantage. However, even with a history of political stability, Kenya has wallowed in poverty, with development moving at a snail's pace.

After living here for an extended time, I can see why Kenya has struggled to reach her considerable potential. One of the main reasons is that the education system is underdeveloped and overburdened. All secondary schools (grade 9-12) charge a fee that is substantial to most poor Kenyan families. It is a common sight to see school children running around with no shoes because their parents could not afford them on top of schoool fees and essential supplies. Schools themselves are so few that classrooms are overflowing, and Kenyan universities are so young that they haven't had the time to produce an adequate number of quality teachers to man those classes.

The school that I now teach at two days a week, Nduluku Primary and Secondary in the town of Mbumbuni, is a great representation of, both, how far Kenya has come and how far it still has to go. With the help of Barclay's bank and the head of Kenya's armed forces, Joseph Kianga, a small computer lab was established in 2007. Because of that project, a few other buildings are supplied with electricity (which is an extremely rare thing for a Kenyan school). On the other hand, the classes are overwhelmingly full, with over 70 in many. The combination fo Nduluku's paper thin budget and the extreme impoverishment of the student base (over 70% of the surrounding community live on less than 75 cents a day according to a 2008 DANIDA survey) makes text books and other educational materials extremely limited.

Almost immediately upon seeing Nduluku's completely empty "library" it became my mission to fill it with books. With classes as full as they are, and with teachers obligated to teach at an average pace and level, students' curiosity is being suffocated. With no books and no internet connections there is absolutely no way for students to learn things not covered in class, be exposed to new ideas and have their imaginations tweaked. Giving the young developing minds of Nduluku these opportunities is a small but significant step towards transforming the living conditions in Mbumbuni, and helping Kenya realize a brighter future. I thank you and the Wings of the Dawn for making this step possible.

Alex Schaefer
Peace Corps Volunteer

June 2009--Wings of the Dawn shipped 20ft container of 20,000 books to support A Library with no books! project and neighbouring schools and libraries. The entire fraternity of Nduluku Secondary School greatly appreciate the receipt of the many varied books kindly donated by your good & caring organization: More…

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