In 2018, Roy Austin traveled to Eastern Africa to visit five countries and witness the beautiful wildlife in the region. By the time he made it back home to the U.S., his life had completely changed, and it wasn’t because of the safari.
His trip included cultural experiences in each of the countries, which he said “didn’t interest” him at the time. Still, he went along and ended up meeting locals in Kenya, who taught him about their educational system. That’s when Roy realized he wanted to do something to give back!
While he was in a rural part of Kenya, he met some students from Amboseli Primary and Secondary School. They explained that the government doesn’t build schools for them; it simply provides them with necessary books and teachers. To have an actual building, each community has to build it themselves or raise enough money to afford the project.
Later, someone else on the trip with Roy asked a teacher if Amboseli had a library. She told them they didn’t, but they would love to have one. That’s when Roy realized he could make a difference — by mailing them books!
When he got home, he set up a nonprofit called Libraries for Kids. Their mission is to purchase and send books to these students who are “hungry for knowledge.” They do so by collecting monetary and book donations, all of which go toward building out school libraries in rural parts of Kenya and Tanzania. And of course, to the kids at Amboseli!
When Roy initially started the nonprofit, many people told him it couldn’t be done because of the costs and the difficult process of shipping items overseas. But that didn’t deter him one bit!
“Every worthwhile project will have problems and obstacles,” he wrote. “If you focus on the problems, you will never start. Conversely, if you focus on the objective and solve the problems as they arise, most anything is possible.”
These days, the organization is steadily growing and is hard at work providing a variety of books to students who see the value in them. In fact, since they first started, they have sent over 1,000 books to 11 different schools!
What a wonderful way to promote literacy and open doors for these kids! You can make a donation or learn more about Libraries for Kids on their website.
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