Dear Friends and Donors,
I recently got back from my latest trip to Kenya. We thought you might like to have news of our library projects and the work made possible through your support.
When I arrived, Dabaso Library was looking very calm and tidy, but it didn’t stay like that for long. As the roof had been leaking badly, threatening to bring the ceiling down, I gave the go-ahead for most of the library roof to be replaced at a cost of £433. The job took four days, and an hour after the last iron sheet was hammered into place, the heavens opened and it rained for 24 hours non-stop!
The big excitement in Dabaso, however, is that electricity has come to the village – part of the Rural Electrification programme that the Government has at last undertaken with a General Election due at the end of next year. I paid for the library to be wired up by local electricians and it will be connected up within the next month. (£596 in all) With mains electricity, the four computers can be run for a minimal cost, and through a satellite dish (£105), the Library will screen the nightly news on TV.
I met Mercyline Thoya and Festus Katuna, the two young people we’re supporting with ‘library bursaries’ (£120 each per annum). In return for 80% of their secondary school fees, they work in the library for four hours a week, helping with cataloguing, shelving and cleaning. I visited Mercyline’s ‘shamba’ where I met her father who has not been able to work since he was crippled by falling from a roof. He asked me to pass on his thanks that his clever daughter can now complete her studies.
I also visited to the two far-flung villages, Langobaya and Kakuyuni, where we are planning to establish libraries next year. I left a questionnaire in each community asking them to tell us their priorities for books and equipment, and we measured up the rooms where the libraries are to be sited. We now have a more accurate idea of how much the fitting out will cost – around £9,000. And of course, we will have to get the majority of books shipped out from the UK.
As part of our fund-raising efforts, we are hosting an evening of music, dance and readings on November 22nd at University College School, London NW3. We’ll also show short video made on my trip and answer people’s questions. Entry is £5 and a book. Please come along – and/or send your friends!
Thank you once again for your interest and support.
Chair, The Akili Trust