Background & History
My parents gave birth to six children. Putting all of us through school was definitely a hustle for them at the time. When I was supposed to go to first grade, my dad pulled my siblings and I from school. He could not afford it anymore. There used to be a big library owned and run by the government in the center of the city. Everyday, I would hitch a ride with someone going to town, where the big library was and I would spend my whole day there with some of my siblings. My colleagues were in school and had the opportunity to learn from great teachers but I had only one thing going for me.
This was the beginning of how I learned to teach myself and read on my own. I was able to do a lot of work on my own and when my father had enough money to re-enroll us back in school, none of us had to repeat a class. We had all learned to work independently and no longer depended on teachers to be able to understand class material.
In High School, some of my teachers barely came to teach but I was able to learn on my own and I even taught my class Math and Chemistry for over two years. Once I “learned how to learn”, no one could take it away from me. This library is my way of building a bridge to empower other students with this same skill. I want them to learn how to learn.
How it started
In 2006, my family moved to a growing suburb called Ablekuma-Fanmilk far away from the city. This community consists of over 20,000 people and the closest library is about 2 hours away. All the children in this neighborhood do not have the advantage that I got when I was young: access to a library.
Some of the houses in the community actually do not have electricity. Hence the children have no light to do their homework. For most of these students, the only form of education after school is through paid extra classes which their parents cannot afford. So what happens? They all end up playing with friends or selling by the roadside.
I started an initiative many years ago when i was still in High school to gather some of these students in my parents house and teach them. See some photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/LjX3J9JLeTcoY6nY7 . The success of this pilot gave me the inspiration to organize to create an actual physical space that kids could come and learn.
What is our goal?
Creating this library will allow me to achieve my dream of helping people in my community to have access to resources and most importantly, a serene environment that will foster learning. Apart from stocking it with books, I also hope for the library to become a space for students to get help with homework and for uneducated mothers to even have access to adult education where they learn to read and write.
How can you help?
So far, my team and I have managed to secure a land and have already constructed two floors of the library by ourselves. We are yet to plaster the building, install windows, electricity & water, furnish it and stock with books. You could make a monetary contribution towards our goal or donate books or furniture.
Samuel Opoku-Agyemang, Founder