Type: Primary School Location: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Number of Students: 400
In 2014, Carissa Mallory travelled with her family to Tanzania. She and her friend Sara Campbell brought with them two suitcases of books that they had outgrown that they had wanted to donate to a school library. Arriving at the Gerezani Primary School, they soon got a first-hand look at the extreme poverty of schools in Africa. When they asked to see the library to give the books to the librarian, the headmistress walked with them down a long hallway to what the girls soon realized was “a door of opportunity.” As the door opened, they were stunned to discover that the school’s library didn’t exist, but was merely a dream in the hearts of the teachers .
The dream of a library begins to take shape
Cara and Sara decided in that moment that the rest of the vacation and safari they’d dreamed of and planned would instead be spent doing what they could to turn the dreams of the teachers into reality. They transformed the abandoned storage room, building bookshelves, painting the room, purchasing a rug and cheerful decorations. Electricity was installed to allow for an internet connection, and a Tanzanian college student majoring in technology helped them set up an internet router, giving teachers access to the internet for the first time. The girls made a promise that when they returned home, they would ask their friends to help, and they would return to the school to finish building the library.
The girls promised to return and bring more books
A year later, the group of friends collected more than 12,000 books
When they returned home, they began organizing book drives, asking friends to donate their books, coordinating with book drives at local elementary schools in Leander ISD, and purchasing surplus books from school libraries at Katy ISD.
The journey to Africa begins for 10,000 books
After more than a year of hard work, the team collected more than 10,000 books to ship to Tanzania, along with 350 school desks and chairs, library rugs and other educational resources to help Tanzania’s schools.
The books arrive!
Today the GPS library is used by 400 students to help them learn English, a critically important skill as students in Tanzania must learn English fluently in order to attend secondary school.
As a result of building the library and introducing GPS students to the joy of reading, English proficiency test scores at GPS rose nearly a full grade point, from 2.0 to 2.99. The success of the library has inspired RAWLI volunteers to do more. With your help, RAWLI plans to build an additional more libraries!