Building Bookshelves in West Africa


We are Kristen and Charles Ndiaye -- creators of Reading Culture , a social enterprise that focuses on constructing not only multicultural bookshelves within homes and communities, but also providing the enrichment workshops needed to bring them to life.  We've been basically spending our free time building reading cultures wherever we can. 

As we prepare for our third family trip to Senegal, West Africa -- now with a little one in tow -- an image continues to tread in our minds: a school -- no, a classroom -- a shack, a blackboard, and a shelf...full...of outdated books; but about 15-20 eager students raising their hands. The image was of excitement for education, hidden in plain sight on the streets of Dakar. That was two years ago, and we haven't stopped talking about it since.

So much so that we feel the need to build something of a remedy this time around.  Our conversations always drift to the idea of  commissioning a local artisan to build a bookshelf and be able to fill it with books. Then we thought, what if we were to build two, or three bookshelves? Not only would we be contributing to the world of work in Dakar, but we'd also be helping to plant a seed for more of a vibrant reading culture by increasing youth literacy levels, and hoping for a love of reading.

Update: So far, we have chosen one small school in the city not far from Dakar: Mamarium Diouff -- there are about 40 students between the ages of 4 and 6.  The teachers are patiently waiting for the books to arrive.

Update: Thanks to the head of the school, we've been able to secure our carpenter for the shelf.  We're going to be looking at a shelf about 1.5m by 2m to fit the space.

Here's where our fellow community comes in: we need books to fill the shelves.

Why Crowdfund?

We considered paying for this out of our own pocket money, but then realized that...we couldn't. Plus, we didn't want to keep this idea all to ourselves. It's much more fun to have the community involved.

Your Impact

Any contribution that you make will go straight to this project. We need $3,850 to complete these bookshelves.

The $3,850 that we hope to earn will pay for:

·      Artisanal bookshelves (3) built at Village Artisanal Soumbedioune (see video): CDN$300.

·      Books: CDN$3,000 (Beautifully illustrated multicultural English and French-language books will be bought in Canada and France and shipped to Dakar, Senegal. (Includes GoFundMe fees).

·      Shipping: CDN$600 (approx.)

·      Gas on the ground: CDN$50.

Our Deadline

We're set to leave for Dakar in early February so we will need the funds by January 31. We would love your help with this; the best feeling would be to buy at least one book ($25) to put on the shelf, but you can also help in the following ways:

1) Spreading the word! Use this link to share on social media and email: gofundme/building-bookshelves-in-west-africa.

2) If you're closeby (Toronto or the GTA), and would like to donate a specific book(s) (French or English), send a message and we'll meetup.  That works too!

Thank you so much for all of your support. We would not be able to complete this project without it!!!

All our Love and Happy Reading,

Kristen and Charles

Reward Levels

CDN $10 -- Every contribution counts! Receive a hand drawn thank-you note. Thank you!

CDN $25 -- Your written dedication inside a donated children's book and a hand-drawn thank you note. Thank you!

CDN $40 -- Your written dedication inside two children's books (in French and English) and a hand-drawn thank you note!

CDN $60 -- Your written dedication inside three children's books (in French and English) and a hand-drawn thank you note. Thank you!

CDN $500 -- Your name dedication etched into an artisinal bookshelf from the Village Artisanal Soumbedioune and a hand-drawn thank you note. Thank you! 

CDN $1000 -- Your name dedication etched into an artisinal bookshelf from the Village Artisanal Soumbedioune and a hand-drawn thank you note. Thank you!


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