Here is Our Story, going all the way back to 2012 when I was faced with – Children I met at Diani Beach Kenya were wonderfully kind and generous, but they were also unable to imagine their futures different from their parents. And I decided there and then that I really don’t like the idea of children without the access to books. Of children without the abilities to dream, to imagine and to create.
Back in the UK with a bunch of like-minded people we got Just be a Child off the ground pretty quickly. At first we collected books from the UK public and to kick off our partnership with our first Kenyan community we have build our first playground. The library in the form of a 40ft container followed soon after. Then we did that again with another community and then again. And then we built one playground and one library ever since.
Somewhere along the way we decided to do a little bit more. We launched activities such as Young Writer Competition, Arts & Crafts sessions, Multi-Activity Days, youth and volunteer training sessions. We also made a promise to never walk away from a community partner and we continue to support them throughout the lifetime of our libraries.
And so we have adopted the following:
Our motto: our partner communities lead their own development.
Our promise: not only to continue building one library every year, till we reach at least 30, but also to continue supporting our existing libraries throughout their lifetime.
But that is not all. We realised that we would like to give more children access to books. And so we launched two more ways of getting the books to Kenya: 1) supplying large number of books to libraries operated by other organisations; and 2) donate small number of books to applicants.
And here is the story of our second Library and Learning Centre being built.