Bringing books to rural Kenya
“The only thing you absolutely have to know
is the location of the library.”
~ Albert Einstein
As a former teacher, nothing makes me happier than to see a child excited about reading. Today I share the story of O.A.T traveler, Roy Austin, who feels the same way.
In 2018, Roy visited Kenya on an O.A.T. trip, and like many of you, fell in love with the people. While visiting the Amboseli Primary School, a teacher named Anna Tayiai, remarked she would love to have a library. Eventually Roy’s vision started to take shape, and Libraries for Kids, International was born with the mission of bringing books to rural schools in Kenya. I hope you will take a few moments to read more of Roy’s inspiring story below.
In 2024, Grand Circle Foundation is partnering with Libraries for Kids, a registered non-profit, to fund $25,000 that will cover the cost of shipping and distributing one container of books to Kenya. 100% of traveler donations will be used for this project.
Each shipping container can hold up to 40,000 books, which will be delivered to the six schools we support in Kenya – Amboseli Primary School, Amboseli Lewis Secondary School, Isaatien Primary School, Lemong’o Primary School, Olakeene Primary School and Olmoti Primary School. After these classrooms and libraries are filled, the remaining books in the container will be delivered to other schools in the local area, impacting thousands of students, their families and their communities.
I love Roy’s life philosophy “Focus on the Objective, not the Obstacle”. As we begin 2024 – many of us with personal goals and resolutions still fresh on our minds – this is a great reminder to remain positive and hopeful.
Love and Peace,
Chair, Grand Circle Foundation
In September 2018, I set off on a five-week safari to five countries in East Africa to see animals in the wild, while they are still in the wild. The itinerary included cultural experiences which didn’t interest me, and honestly, I was apprehensive about visiting homes, schools, villages, slums, bushmen, etc.
The animals were fantastic! Unexpectedly, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the people and visiting their homes and schools. The African people we met were warm, friendly, smart, creative and happy.
We visited the Amboseli Primary and Secondary Schools in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. In rural Kenya, the government does not build school buildings. You either build it yourself or raise the money to have it built. The government does supply teachers and some schoolbooks and supplies. A teacher was asked if they had a library, and Anne (pictured below) replied “No, but we would love to have a library.” That stuck in my mind. Surely, I could get books donated and shipped to the school. This is when the idea for Libraries for Kids was born.
In 2023, our goal was to ship 440,000 books; we shipped 8 containers with 354,157 books (80% to our goal). This includes the last 5 containers that were shipped on November 22, 2023 and are due to arrive at the end of January with 223,000 books. Each container holds an average of 44,600 books, at a cost of about 65 cents per book to ship.
There are approximately 20,000 rural primary and secondary schools in Kenya. We have now put books in 6,223 rural schools impacting the lives of 1.5 million children plus their families and communities. The 5 containers due to arrive in late January will create libraries in about 700 more schools, and impact 175,000 more children. For 2024, our goal is to ship 10 more containers.
Thank you for your interest in bringing books to rural Kenya. You can help send a container by donating here.
A note from the GCF Boston team:
Many of you have asked if you could ship books to the GCF office in Boston to be delivered to schools in Africa. Due to shipping and customs fees, and the logistics of delivering the books, this is difficult to coordinate. If you have books you’d like shipped to Africa, you can send them to the Books for Africa warehouse at 1491 Cobb Industrial Drive, Building B, Marietta, GA, 30066. The boxes should be marked on all sides with “LFK” (Libraries For Kids) . It is recommended to mail the books using the USPS media rate. These books will then become part of a container sent to schools in Kenya.
Thank you for your generous support of Grand Circle Foundation, and the trust you place in our team to ensure your donation is used as intended.
Because all administration costs are funded by the Lewis Family Foundation, 100% of all donations are tax deductible and returned to our partner sites.
If you made a donation to support a specific project and would like an update on how the funds were used, please feel free to contact us at: [email protected], or call 1‑800‑859‑0852.