Abelemkpe, a suburb in the Ayawaso West District of Accra, got its first public library, thanks to the efforts of Rising Stars Development Foundation, a student-led community development charity based in Lincoln Community School in Accra.
Seventeen-year-old, Veena Agrawal, a student of Lincoln Community School and founder of the Rising Stars Development Foundation, handed over the library on Tuesday at a ceremony which attracted the Municipal Chief Executive of the Ayawaso West Municipality, students and families from neighbouring schools in Abelemkpe and Assembly members from Abelemkpe and Dzorwulo.
Located just outside the premises of the Abelemkpe Basic 2 School, ‘The Little Library’, as it is called, is a shipping container, ingeniously refurbished into a compact, yet roomy library facility for use mostly by school-going persons in and around the Abelemkpe community.
Veena Agrawal, who is of Indian parentage, told newsmen she set up the Rising Star Development Foundation when she was 15, as an avenue for making a positive impact on her community, Abelemkpe. Her Foundation aims at giving students the opportunity to improve their communication skills, express themselves creatively and build confidence in themselves while helping them to reflect and acquire a better perspective of the challenges their society faces so they may become ‘leaders of tomorrow’.
“To me, Ghana is home and I always want to do something to give back to this amazing country that I am lucky to have lived in for my entire life,” Miss Agrawal said.
“Living in Ghana, I noticed that although we have a lot of very smart and intelligent students, these students and their families haven’t always had access to learning materials such as books and textbooks. I noticed this issue worsen with the covid-19 pandemic, as students and families were struggling to teach and learn at home without the proper materials,” She lamented.
‘The Little Library’ is non-commercial and opens five days a week. It has a multi-disciplinary collection of books suitable for every age and ranges from storybooks for toddlers, encyclopedias, fiction novels to literary classics.
Miss Agrawal said the necessary closure of schools as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic further worsened the plight of many families with school-going children of all ages as they lacked access to learning materials.
“Families without access to the internet must rely on books and textbooks to continue teaching their kids, however a lot of such families are unable to provide their children with these resources. It is in response to these problems that I decided to build this library and it is my hope that moving forward, students and families can have access to books and textbooks so we can continue to learn and educate ourselves,” said Miss Agrawal.
She said her Foundation’s dream is to extend the little library project to more communities in Accra.
“The benefits of reading should not only be felt by those in Abelemkpe. Hopefully, if we are able to collect more sponsors and partners, we will be able to build several Little Libraries across the city!”