All it took was one trip for Roy Austin to be hooked, and want to help.
Austin went on vacation to Africa in 2018 and came back with more than pictures, he had an idea.
He saw a classroom in Kenya where kids didn’t have the simple things they needed like pencils, paper, and especially books.
“The Kenyan Government gives very little support to the rural schools,’ explains Austin. “If you want a school built, you build it yourself. They will supply a teacher, some books and supplies, but maybe new books every 10 years or so.”
The school, Amboseli Primary and Secondary School in Kenya, is located next to a Maasai tribe.
This is typically a nomadic tribe who does not have a set home but cares for their animals and people wherever the land is fruitful.
Now, this tribe has changed its way of life just so their children can be educated. The warriors leave for weeks on end with the animals, leaving the kids behind to learn.
“Education is that important to them,” explains Austin. “That they are willing to put their warriors at more risk and their herds at more risk so their kids can get an education.”
This rural school has limited resources and very little help from the Kenyan government. No internet, or many school supplies.
“The kids have no resources to do extended reading outside of what the normal school day,” learned Austin. “If you give them a project, as we all did as we were in school, ok write an essay on something. Where do you go?
Roy saw their need but also focused on their potential. Students who want to learn about things that could help the tribe in the future. About water sources, construction, community building.
“It might be just one kid that all of a sudden picks up something and is inspired and says ok I can make a better life for my people for myself.”
So he started Libraries 4 Kids. A registered non-profit designed to give kids a leg up, one book at a time.
“They all have hopes and dreams and fears and ambitions just like all of us do. Our opportunities are probably greater, but in some cases their determination is greater.”
“If they pick up one thing, one thing that sparks their imagination and gives them the belief that yes, I can do something more, I can make a contribution.”
Roy has already sent more than one hundreds pounds of books and cash donations to that school to help. Now several other schools have joined in need of more books, even older encyclopedias, dictionaries and “casual” reading books for kids 6-18. Books that they can enjoy, understand or that mirror their culture.
Austin also needs storage space for the books he plans to collect and send.
If you would like to help go to www.libraries4kids.org . There is a list there of the needs for these students. Cash donations or book donations are always welcome.