Kenya Keys supports small libraries at seven primary schools and one secondary school in the region. For schools that had no books to speak of, these libraries provide great opportunities for students to broaden their knowledge and language skills. The stories open up a whole new world for the students.
The first school library in the region began with a young boy and a big question. A small boy approached Rinda Hayes early one morning in 2006, on one of Rinda’s annual visits to Kenya. She describes the experience:
It was like any morning in Kenya, hot and muggy. I greeted the little boy and he sat down by me. It was clear he wanted to ask me something. When he finally got up the courage to do so, I was most surprised. He didn’t want food. He didn’t want money. He asked if I had a book he could read.
Luckily I did. He sat beside me and leafed carefully through its pages. I asked if he might like to take the book home, and the smile spread across his face. I explained that it must be returned to me the next day. With an earnest look and a nod, he promised to do so.
Before I knew it, he’d told his friends. They were soon at my door, quickly exhausting my supply of children’s books. And sure enough. The next day the children were back to turn in their treasures. Could they trade and take home another book?
From this simple beginning, a school library was created. Others followed in the years to come. And now, it’s a common site to see children in Kenya reading books, even while walking to school.