For those at KEY the libraries we will be donating to Kakuma Refugee Camp has felt like a long time coming. There has been so much planning, negotiating, organizing, ordering, renovating, sourcing, editing, visiting, and prepping, that to only have a few weeks to go before we seen the libraries finally installed is truly exhilarating.
Mid-March, we will be making the trip to Kakuma we have been looking forward to for several years, to finally install and setup the libraries. We will be bringing nearly 7,000 books, a fully equipped container, furniture, computers, and even solar power to run it all. We will be donating two libraries, one to Hope Primary, and one to Angelina Jolie Primary.
One of the final things we had to do (as the finishing touches were being put on the container), was a baseline survey at the two schools. So we made a brief trip to the camp to do this, and took the opportunity to spend time with some one the students who were able to borrow the books we had brought in our initial donation last July (2016).
Kakuma Refugee Camp is comprised primarily of South Sudanese. As many are aware, a famine was just declared in parts of South Sudan. This famine has been called man-made, because it has been caused mostly by fighting and insecurity. Needless to say, refugee camps around the borders of South Sudan have been inundated with these new waves of refugees.
We have had people comment from time to time about the logic of bringing books to a place where people still need food. “You cannot eat a book” is a comment I have heard more than once. We agree, please don’t try. But jokes aside, what we are bringing to Kakuma is obviously not a substitute for food, but reading and improving the mind is critical to break the cycle of poverty that makes you food insecure. And anyone who has visited Kakuma can tell you that the students there are in desperate need of books. They need them to study from, to learn from, to dream from, and sometimes, simply to pass the time. Wait for our photos when we install the libraries, and you’ll see.