When first created under the name 'Our Reading Spaces', the mission of inABLE was to empower Africa through reading and access to information. In parallel to our primary focus on the visually impaired, we continue to advance this original mission through the construction of libraries in rural villages and communities in Africa. These facilities will nurture a reading culture, support the school-going youth, and serve to disseminate pertinent, focused information on issues confronting both the young and adult populations.
Our Reading Spaces Library - Thika Primary School for the Blind
Founded in 1946, Thika Primary School for the Blind is the largest and oldest school for the blind and visually impaired in Africa. The school did not have a library and Braille books were shared between four or more blind students. We renovated an old room in the school and converted it into a library now housing approximately 12,000 Braille volumes and books with large text. The library serves 250 students and 34 teachers. The books were donated by individuals, through Books for Africa, and the shipment costs from the US to Kenya were funded by Safaricom Kenya Foundation.
Our Reading Spaces Library - Kairi Village
The nearest library to Kairi Village is 15km away. This distance may not seem far for those with viable modes of transportation, but to an individual walking on foot, a trip to the library is a day's journey. Approximately 4,500 children will have access to the center once it is completed. Through the generosity of Safaricom Foundation, approximately 12,000 books arrived in Kairi village on October 6th, 2010 to establish the Our Reading Spaces - Kairi village.
The Kairi Community donated a piece of land for the community resource center. Bidco Ltd. donated a shipping container to house the books. A portion of the grant from Safaricom was allocated to cover the cost of renovating the container and for shelving. This community resource center currently serves over 2,000 students from the eight schools in the area, in addition to the adult residents of the Kairi Community.The librarian, who manages the center, is a recent graduate of Makerere University, Uganda.
Our goals for 2011 include the purchase of an additional three shipping containers to expand the community resource center in Kairi. We are in the process of securing water supply and constructing latrines for the Kairi center. We also aim to purchase furniture, and additional shelves in order to create a more welcoming and comfortable reading space for those visiting the resource center.
Upcoming Library: Our Reading Spaces Library - Karateng'
Majority of the children in Karateng’ walk to school every day and do not own or have access to books outside of their school books. There is no library in their community and many have no idea of what a library is. The closest library is in Kisumu, approximately 13 miles away, and is inaccessible to majority of the children who cannot ordinarily afford to pay for the bus to travel to the city. The area is in need of a library for everyday use. According to a 2010 survey of the head teachers of the local schools, the area children desperately need supplemental reading materials to spark their creativity and imagination and to unlock their full potential. They believe that reading will enable them to build a strong foundation for general learning.
A local family in Karateng’ has renovated and donated their ancestral home for use as the area’s first community library. UPS Foundation in conjunction with their partner AidMatrix and generous friends and family have subsidized the cost to ship 11,000 books from Books for Africa to arrive in Karateng’ in January 2012. The books which consist of leisure reading, reading skills, English language, math, science and health books will be used by children from Kindergarten to 12th Grade, as well as adults enrolled in the adult education programs. A partnership with Kenya National Library Services (KNLS) will ensure that a fully functional library is set up to serve Kenya’s next generation of great readers.