BLUFFTON, SC (WSAV) – This is something kids here might take for granted every day – the ability to have a textbook or some other type of book of their own.
A man from Lowcountry is working to make this a reality for all children, starting with Africa.
“The teacher used sheets of fabric with pictures drawn on to teach the children about numbers or fruits,” said Roy Austin.
He saw these scenes when he went to Kenya three years ago and it prompted him to create Libraries For Kids International.
The program has now helped students in 378 schools across the African country.
“Some of these kids have never seen a novel,” Austin said. “They’ve never seen a storybook.”
Wanjiku Francis is the Field Liaison Officer in Kenya, helping to distribute books to children in rural schools.
“Most of the subjects, we only had one textbook,” Francis said. “This manual is there, but some pages are missing.
Some schools only receive $ 5.50 per student for education, including schools.
“Some of them can’t even read, but you see their faces and they’re so excited. Just look at them and say, “Wow, now it’s worth it. “Because this kid is already interested in the book that’s out there,” Francis said.
“He (the teacher) emailed me and told me enrollment has skyrocketed since we had books,” Austin said. “The marks increase in the annual exams and the parents come in the evening to continue their studies. “
What began with sending a box of Bluffton books is now sending containers filled with thousands of texts and novels.
“You have the opportunity to improve this person’s life, easier than it was for me,” Wanjiku said. “To give these kids a chance to go Form 1 or even do a full sentence. Some don’t even know how to read.
“When I hear Wanjiku speak, when I get emails from teachers about the impact it has. It brings tears to your eyes, ”Austin said.
“I can change someone’s life,” Wanjiku smiles.
Austin has a partner organization that helps get the books. His team delivers them, but it all costs money.
He hopes to get more donations, even a corporate sponsor to help the cause, and help him bring this program not only to Kenya but to other disadvantaged children around the world.
If you want to help, go to library4kids.org.