Bringing reading materials and financial literacy to the people of West Pokot, Kenya
This morning as I sit in bed with a cup of coffee waiting for the sun to rise, I feel incredibly grateful. Soon I’ll hear the beautiful noise that is my two young daughters awakening from their sleep, ready to take on the day with an enormous amount of energy.
I realized something this morning. I had started to take for granted many of the basic resources at my disposal that make the pursuit of a quality education accessible to myself and my family. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for these resources, but rather I had let the chaos of my day to day life distract me from being consciously mindful of these blessings.
As my daughters continue to sleep, I begin to plan out the day ahead. After breakfast, we’ll start by going to a Mommy & Me storytime event that our local public library hosts weekly. After that I’ll take my daughters to one of the many parks within our community so that my oldest can play with other kids her age and let out some much needed energy before naptime. In the afternoon, I’ll help guide her through some worksheets from a preschool activity book that I purchased at my local bookstore as a way to compliment her current school’s curriculum, followed by reading with them both from several of the numerous educational books that we have in our home library.
In contrast, nearly half way around the world and roughly 270 miles northwest of Nairobi, Kenya, lies the rural village of West Pokot. This is a place relatively untouched by technology, as evidenced through its severely lacking healthcare systems and illiteracy level of 90%. West Pokot is also a place where power relations between men and women are greatly unequal, and education for the well-being of women is not valued.
I’d like to introduce you to Josie, our fellow advocate, friend, and inspiration for the Manyatta Library renovation. She was born and raised in Kenya, in a tribe where, instead of aspiring to achieve an education, girls are born with the aspiration of being married off at a young age in order to provide the most financial support for their family. In fact, it’s quite common for girls as young as 10 years old to be married off if their family cannot afford to pay for their education costs.
Insecurity and lack of access to information regarding schools in this community are some of the many factors that restrict these children from accessing education, thus leaving them in a vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy. Josie was fortunate enough to come from a family who was able to afford to provide her with a quality education in the United States. Because of this, she was able to eventually earn her masters degree in public health, and is Director of Programs and Development at Color My Dreams. A small non profit that was founded by Edith Cherotich. Through the nonprofit, Josie and her team work to promote literacy in the form of libraries, to ensure that every disadvantaged child has access to books and other educational materials that they need to reach their full potential.
By partnering with Color My Dreams Africa, Lite Tuition was able to renovate the main library within the Lokna village in Pokot—the Manyatta Library. The renovation was led by a group of 15 local West Pokot women who will also be responsible for maintaining the library with guidance from the CMDA team.
Unlike traditional libraries, books from the Manyatta Library are dropped off and picked up from villages within West Pokot so that students and teachers are not required to abandon their lifestyle or daily tasks in order to access the materials they need. To accomplish this, Little Tree libraries will be installed in 10 schools within 4 different villages in Pokot. The Little Tree libraries will be used to house books and other relevant materials within the schools themselves. Stewards have been appointed to each Little Tree library, and are responsible for its general maintenance and operations, including picking up and dropping off books from the Manyatta.
Lite Tuition’s mission is to help make education more accessible to anyone who seeks it, and we are thrilled to be able to partner with Color My Dreams Africa to work to make this mission a reality for the people of West Pokot!
Visit our website to learn more about how you can create your free educational savings campaign, or support some very hardworking students on their path to a debt-free education!