As many of you know, I am celebrating my 60th birthday in September. To mark the occasion, I've decided to build a reading room in Kongbor which is home to the field office for the project I am managing in Liberia. It is an isolated area where literacy levels are low and the highest level of schooling available locally is grade 9. Having access to books will make a real difference in the lives of children there.
Some of you may remember that with help from family and friends, I supported the building of a children's library when I worked in Cameroon 15 years ago so you can see that there is a bit of a consistent theme in my endeavours. My sister Sandra who died of cancer three years ago was an early literacy specialist so this will also be a tribute to her.
I'm working closely with the community to build the reading room, especially the PTA for the primary school. They chose the site and the people to run the reading room and constructed all the bricks for the walls. With your help, we'll provide all the non-local materials like cement, zinc for the roof, and paint, as well as the furniture and books to fill up the room. You can see in the photos that construction is going well - the basic structure is in place and the next step will be to plaster the walls. As it is the heavy rainy season right now, it is proving a challenge to get the materials to Kongbor over the very very bad road but things will pick up in a month or two when the rains stop.
I am really pleased to be working on this reading room with a Liberian NGO, Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP ). Brenda Brewer Moore started KEEP during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, distributing educational packages to families so that children could continue learning while all the schools were closed during the outbreak. KEEP has grown alot since and has gone from strength to strength. I know that KEEP's support will help the community of Kongbor manage the reading room well in the long term.
I've been fortunate in my life, in where I was born, to a family who loved me, and have had the great joy of bringing up my children and seeing them grow into good and happy adults. I feel blessed that I can do work that I love and enjoy friendships with people around the world. As I celebrate my 60th trip around the sun, it seems a good moment to find a way to express my gratitude for all that I have enjoyed. Thank you for helping me to do this and for supporting the Kongbor Reading Room.
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