In the United States, we take much for granted, including education and public libraries. Libraries are an integral part of community development and learning, not only in America, but around the world. In the U.S., we have one public library for approximately every 2,700 people. However, this is not so elsewhere. In Kenya, there is one library for every 726,000 people. It is no wonder that Stu and Linda Ross, Outreach missionaries in Kenya, focused their attention on building schools to educate children, particularly the over looked and often oppressed girl-child.
Children and adults have little access to books. When Stu and Linda would bring books to the schools, they experienced an unprecedented eagerness by the students. Stu recently commented, “Whenever I have taken books to the school for the library, the girls would meet me and before I could get the books into the library they wanted to see what I had brought. They were yearning to see what books were in my vehicle.” There were never enough books, and certainly not enough to share with the local community.
Linda Ross suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on March 17, 2016. Because of Linda’s particular love for the young school girls, Stu began a memorial to build a library at Grace Girls’ High School in Maasailand. “Linda always had two or three books going at the same time,” Stu commented. “She loved books and I know it broadened her view of the world.” She wanted the same for the children of Kenya. The library would serve not only the girls at Grace, but also the local community. Plans included hard back books as well as a digital library, a rare opportunity in Kenya.
Memorial gifts were collected, enough to build and furnish the library. Furnishings include tables, chairs, book shelves, a limited number of books, and 30 mini-iPads for the digital library. Each iPad has 1,500 books loaded and the iPads can be checked out by the 120 students.
Due to the success of the first library and great need, Stu is planning other libraries at schools they have built in Kenya. The second library is to be located at Kimuka Girls’ High School, also in Maasailand. “Libraries open up new worlds for these girls. It broadens their education, it expands their world,” stated Stu. “When you educate a girl child, you educate a family and community.”
If you would like to be a part of this special effort to bring books to Kenyans, send your gift to The Outreach Foundation or make an online gift by clicking HERE and designating your gift for “Kenya libraries.”