Libraries are for living

About half the population of Nairobi is crammed into the slums, which make up just 5% of the city’s area.

Book Aid International has been working with several organisations in the Nairobi slums to improve the opportunities for the people who live there, especially young people. The issues are many and complex, with a lack of schooling and a growing gang culture being just two of them.

Together with the Kidslibs Trust and the Mathare Youth Sports Association, we have been helping to provide books for the readers at the Mathare North Library, which serves a community of 600,000 people. The library has almost 6,000 members, and 50 young people visit the children’s section every single day. Our books help to make a range of activities possible, including the Little Hands Big Steps programme. This gives parents of very young children a bag of books each week to enjoy together.

Peggy, mother of three-year-old Schofield, told us, “It is a great deal for all us mothers, to come here, have space to teach our children. If kids can come together, develop that reading culture in us, it can change the country!”

The Mathare North Library is just one of many projects made possible by the commitment of librarians and volunteers, the passion of readers, and the support of people like you.

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