Volunteering in Ghana with the OCLF

I am working hard to pay my own way through this adventure.

Hello! My name is Galen Kiva, I am an 18 year old aspiring cinematographer on a gap year. During my year off I plan on traveling abroad and volunteering with the Osu Children's Library Fund from May to June in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

Pictured: Me dancing at a festival

The Osu Children's Library Fund (OCLF) is an amazing non-profit Canadian organization started by Kathy Knowles in 1989 with the purpose of bringing books and literacy skills to African children and adults. Kathy, a fellow Canadian, began this journey under a tree in her garden at her home in Accra, reading storybooks to neighbourhood children who previously didn't have the opportunity to do so. Realizing the need for literacy skills and safe community spaces, she established the OCLF. Since then, the organization has helped to create over 200 libraries in Africa including eight large community libraries in the Greater Accra region.

My first experience with the OCLF was during my trip to Ghana in July 2017 with the Baobab Youth Performers, an African drumming troupe from Ottawa. Throughout the course of my West African adventure, I visited two of the many libraries that the OCLF runs. On both occasions, I was fascinated to see the positive effect that the libraries have on their surrounding communities. And upon hearing that the OCLF provides volunteer opportunities at their community libraries, I knew I was destined to return to work with them.

Pictured: Smiling children; my favourite part of Ghana

During my 2-month stint as a volunteer for the OCLF, I will be working at multiple libraries in the Greater Accra region, helping with literacy courses, day-to-day activities at the libraries, and developing ideas to challenge and engage children. I will also have the opportunity to learn traditional Ghanaian drumming, dancing, and theatre from the Kathy Knowles Theatre Company who I had the absolute pleasure of witnessing perform. Additionally, I will work on an assortment of promotional film projects for the OCLF.

Pictured: A curious child at the Kathy Knowles Community Library in the coastal village of Goi

As a volunteer for the OCLF, I must raise $2,000 which goes toward the organization's general outreach. This is where I ask for your help. Your donation will be used to buy books and educational games, to offer library outreach (including literacy classes and theatre programs), to maintain existing libraries, and to build community libraries where there is strong local government support. You should know that your donation will go directly to the helping Ghanaian communities, less than 2% of donations go to administrative expenses. And volunteers such as myself pay for their own way. Thank you for your support!
  • Judith Berry 
    • $50 
    • 40 mos
  • Shirley Bush 
    • $50 
    • 40 mos
  • Barbara Morris 
    • $50 
    • 41 mos
  • Liz Loewen 
    • $75 
    • 41 mos
  • Andrea Steen 
    • $100 
    • 41 mos
See all


Galen Kiva 
Ottawa, ON
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