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Rural School Library Initiatives

To us, education is #1, and equal access to it is our founding principle. But in too many places, this dream could not be further from reality. We develop high-quality, relevant, modern libraries for rural public schools most in need. We have found this to be the single most effective way to support literacy, encourage a love of reading and lifelong learning, nurture critical thinking, help teachers create programs, and spread the power of knowledge fairly to marginalized communities.

We've brought libraries to students in Amazigh communities of Morocco anxious to learn English and now develop comprehensive libraries for rural schools in Maasai communities of Kenya. Over the past 10 years, we have witnessed that one great library can transform a whole school and impact the lives of 1000s of young people, year after year.

MAASAI MARA LIBRARIES INITIATIVE

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We began the Maasai Mara Libraries Initiative in Kenya in 2017 at Mara Girls Leadership School and then expanded to the neediest public schools. The need here is so urgent, as we found that no public school had anything like a library or other resources for enriched learning. We take a holistic approach, providing curriculum enrichment texts requested by the teachers for every subject and level, along with story books in English and Kiswahili to meet our own objective of inspiring a culture of reading. We aim to put rural Maasai students in parity with their counterparts at privileged private schools, meeting our goal of fair, equal access to high-quality education and opportunities for a brighter future.

Each library has 2000 books, laptops, and (for primary schools) games and puzzles, and we partner with Wildlife Clubs of Kenya to include a Conservation Corner. We run capacity-building workshops to train teachers and students on maintaining their library and on creating programs that will inspire the next generation to read, learn, and grow.

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MOROCCO LIBRARY PROJECT (MLP)

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Since 2014, through our program Morocco Library Project we've developed English libraries in the deserts and mountains of rural Morocco, each one tailored to the needs of motivated students anxious to learn English. We focused on under-privileged Amazigh communities, places that had not had libraries before. Though the settings may be under-resourced, the young people here are so passionate to expand their knowledge and world view. In collaboration with Moroccan high school teachers, we learned about each context and then curated libraries, igniting an explosion of after-school literacy programs at schools and youth centers. Our goal is to inspire a love of learning, and for young people in rural Morocco to know they can make a positive difference in this world. In the end, we developed libraries at over 40 rural locations, some small for after-school English clubs and others larger for whole schools.

 

MLP has now evolved to a nationwide Short Story Competition for teens in Morocco, with published anthologies. 

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