Changing lives through books: Two Indian kids settled in US creates a library in Africa
They say a library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, but not all have the privilege to grow up with books. In Africa, many of the communities have little to no access to reading materials beyond textbooks, while US bookshelves and landfills overflow with books no longer read.
This reality might not bother many, but there are exceptions. Two Indian-based kids, living with their parents in the US, have done their bit by providing books enough for a library for the children in Africa.
"We came to know through one of the non-profitable organization (African Library Project) that students of many countries (Kenya, Malawi, Lethoso, Botswana, South Africa, Uganda, etc) in Africa do not have libraries at all in so many primary and secondary schools. My kids heard the news and wanted to help the students by providing a library," Selvalakshmi Ramasamy, mother of Abi Keerthana and Shrithika Lakshmi, begins.
Grade 4 student Abi Keerthana Saravanakumar and grade 1 student Shrithika Lakshmi Saravanakumar decided to send books to Africa on their own and started collecting them from nearby libraries.
However, it was not an easy task for the kids as the books should not contain any information related to US holidays, religions, appliances, gadgets, etc. "They started collecting from the libraries from around 40 miles. The kids took six months to collect books. They were working throughout the weekends and whenever they got time on the weekdays as well," she adds.
People can create a full or half library by providing 600 and 1000/1200 books, respectively. Apart from collecting the books, Abi Keerthana and Shrithika spent approximately $790 from their pocket money, their mother tells.
"We had to pay the shipping cost of approximately $540 (International Shipping from New Orleans, Louisiana to Malawi, Africa) and a fee of $250 and domestic shipping which is from Chalfont, Pennsylvania to New Orleans, Louisiana. They paid the money from their savings," Selvalakshmi claims.
The books were packed into 19 books and each box weighed around 10 kgs, she concludes.