This project will provide hundreds of culturally relevant book titles to the newly refurbished community library in Kolahun. Hundreds of Liberian children depend on this library to supply them with resources for learning, however, most of the current books are from the West. The books do not represent stories that are typical of the local Liberian child. As such, this project will fund the purchase of book titles that align with their interests and experiences, motivating them to read.
Liberia has one of the world's highest illiteracy rates. Most kids in Liberia only have access to books donated from the West. Children's Book author, Wayetu Moore, noted that most donated books include unrelatable concepts, like "Cindy on the cul-de-sac." If a Liberian child who is learning to read understands the concepts in the book, they are only struggling with how to read. But, if they do not understand the concepts, they have 2 struggles -- reading and the foreign content of the stories.
Creating a cultural book fund will supply the Kolahun community library with reading options that are relatable to Liberian children, thus fostering an interest in, and love of, reading. This in turn will impact the rate of illiteracy in the country and help maintain its unique culture through shared stories. RHL will purchase hundreds of books from several vendors in Liberia, which will help to educate the over 50% of school-aged children who are missing out on a classroom education (UNICEF).
During the Liberian civil wars, many community libraries were ravaged, costing the country much of its intellectual and cultural heritage. This project will help restore what was lost while encouraging children to read, making it more likely that they will stay in and complete school. Ultimately, education obtainment is linked to decreases in unplanned births, it mitigates early pregnancy in young women, and prepares Liberians to graduate and access the job market or higher education.
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