African Library Project

The Stories We Tell: Our Blog

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Kick 4 Life 3ALP not only creates libraries; it also stays in touch with our African partners to be sure the libraries are working effectively.  And when possible, helps make them even better.  On a recent trip to Lesotho, Amy Jo Carson and Ashley Kahn found a fun way to reorganize one library and celebrate literacy in the community.

One of the libraries we visited was to the Kick 4 Life’s Hope Community Center. Kick 4 Life is a football club dedicated to social change through HIV/AIDS education and care, sport, and a thriving social enterprise.

First visit 2

ALP is working to send a container of books to Lesotho this fall to create 35 new libraries.  We still need Book Drive Organizers, who can complete a book drive by September 1.  Click here to find out what’s involved and how to sign up.  As you will read below, two ALP volunteers recently visited Lesotho and saw how libraries are working in the community and what more is needed.

ALP’s Lesotho Liaison, Amy Jo Carson, and I recently traveled to Lesotho.  Our first stop was Malealea, a beautiful village in the Mafeteng District of Lesotho. Its enchanting mountainous views are delightful to tourists and natives alike. Unfortunately, like the majority of rural inhabitants, the people of Malealea often do not have access to educational supplies or even an education.

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When Samantha and her Brownie leader agreed that their second-grade troop would do a book drive for a library in Africa, they thought that the troop would collect 1000 books for one primary school library in Malawi.  But when the PTA president at Field Elementary School in Elmhurst, Il, heard about the book drive, she suggested including all the Girl Scout troops at Field.  The book drive grew from one troop to five, and the parents and children at Field donated not 1000 books but over 5000.  The result: four new primary school libraries in Malawi.

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sharons favorite

In May of 2016, I retired after 30 years of teaching mostly kindergarten and first grade. Primary teachers tend to be book lovers and I am no exception! Over the years I had created an extremely extensive library of high quality children’s books to use in my classroom.

In 2012 my long-time fascination with the African continent led to a month-long camping trip with other teachers to four countries in sub-Saharan Africa.  While we were there, we visited some very rural schools. Noticing the total lack of any supplemental library materials, I filed away a plan that somehow, someday, I would find a way to get my classroom library to Africa. So at my retirement party, I requested only donations to “help me get my children’s books to Africa,” even though I had absolutely no idea how I would do that.