The Education Center Library, Ghana
I have traveled to Ghana, West Africa, three times since 2012. In the summer of 2014 I spent a month with one of my best friends, Rebecca Kuntz. She is a 23 year old who moved to Ghana permanently in January of 2014 to follow her dreams of building the Education Center. The Education Center is half computer lab and half library, and benefits over 5,000 people in Atonsu Agogo, the community where Rebecca lives. I returned to Ghana for a month in February 2015 after she moved in to start the library. There were 1,500 books waiting in the port in Ghana to be brought over to the Center. When I returned in February, I catolouged the books, put them in shelves, and set up the library. I am a 20 year old now college student who accomplsihed this task as a 17 year old homeschooler, and was able to do it out of pocket, and transform it and put it on a transcript for college. This was a big task, and I did a lot of research on how to start a library, and specifically how to start a library in Africa. I read the African Library Project’s PDF on the subject, (The African Library Project sent all the books to Ghana for us) which can be found here: www.africanlibraryproject.org/our-african-libraries/library-resources. I spoke to many librarians, gave talks to local rotary clubs, and delved deeper into thinking out of the box, being a creative thinker, and interior decorator.
Carrying out the library project:
Through month of February 2014, I was in Ghana with some good friends catolouging over 1300 books for the library. We spent 1 to 4 hours a day sorting the books out, alphabetizing, putting the name and author of the book into a word document, inserting a book pocket with the name and author, adding a color-coded sticker, and finally putting numbering and putting them in order. I looked at different shelves and ordered the sizes and numbers I wanted, while the structure of the library was being completed. I didn’t get to shelve the books, becuase I had to leave before there were locks on the doors and windows, but I did accomplish the biggest task, with the help of many other volunteers.
For over 3 years I participated in DCTOP (Teens Opposing Poverty). I traveled to Washington DC with my church youth group and whoever else would like to join once a month, and we serve the homeless in some of the smaller parks in DC through food, warm clothing, conversation, friendship, and a smile. TOP is a program centered in DC that was founded on the belief that teenagers can help change the world through mission. I wholeheartedly agree. In 2014, one of our adult leaders had to step down for personal reasons, and so my mom asked me to be one of our student leaders, because I was very involved in the project. Over the course of two months since we restarted after summer break, I was able to get 50 reusable water bottles donated for our friends to help reduce the use of plastic and give them something more dependable. I have only a few photos of my group in DC for reasons involving the respect of those we serve. If you would like to learn more about DCTOP, visit here: www.teensopposingpoverty.org