In schools in Kenya, particularly in rural areas, textbooks are in short supply. One book shared by 3 to 5 students is considered good in our area. Having books accessible so that a student can learn if they want to seems so simple! But a text book cost more than two days wages, and a student can have 6 to 12 subjects for which they need these books.
Our library services an area of more than 100 square miles. Students routinely walk more than 8 miles round trip to study for exams. Segera Library strives to provide for both the scholarly needs of students from 5 to 50 years old and books just to help our students learn to love to read.
Our goal is to have all textbooks for all subjects for all classes from preschool and kindergarten through 12th grade. There are between 6 and 11 subjects in each grade, and the curriculums are well developed and government mandated. In Kenya, there are about 5 different publishers, all of which produce the official curriculum. Some are really excellent, and all are good and culturally sensitive. Each school chooses which publisher to use for each subject.
We have four schools in our service area:
- Segera Mission School- about 150 students
- Uaso Nyiro Primary School – with about 420 students
- Endana Secondary School – with about 120 students
- Endana Primary School – with about 260 students
Just to have one copy of the textbooks for grades 1 through 12 and for primary and preschool is more than 200 books, and we need about 5 copies of each as a minimum.
We also need books for these areas:
Early Learning Books
We provide books in English that are culturally sensitive. Basic picture books and graduated early reading and math books are particularly needed. These are available and good quality, and cost between $3 and $12 (the really beautifully picture books are imported and quite expensive, but cheaper than trying to ship them from the States).
Inspirational Leaders Biographies
We seek to have books about great leaders from all cultures, but particularly books of Africans that can serve as role models for our students, ranging from Wangari Mathai – the Kenyan woman who won the Nobel Peace Prize – to Nelson Mandela , to African American neurosurgeons like Ben Carson from Johns Hopkins University. These books range from $10 to $18, and can be found 150 miles away (about a 5 hour trip) in Nairobi.
Novels and Stories at all levels
These are the books that people can read for the sheer joy of reading and seeing a broader world than the one they live in.
Geography and the Sciences
Having books on The Human Body for our aspiring young doctors and nurses and books that open up the whole world to children that have never even been to the nearest town 1 ½ hours drive away is crucial to what we believe our library can and should provide. Our goal is to increase our collections by 100% each year. We currently have about 30 books in this area that are not required textbooks.
These are some examples of the different areas in which we are interested in expanding. A gift of $50 for library books can provide textbooks for a primary school student, and $80 can provide a full set for a secondary school student. And because these books are kept in the library, they can help a multiple number of students.