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Our Reading Spaces

Kairi Village school children reading at the library

(Click here to view photo gallery)

When first created 'Our Reading Spaces', the mission was to empower Africa through reading. Although we expanded and refocused the organization to better support blind and visually impaired students, we continue to advocate the importance of reading through the construction of libraries in rural villages and communities in Africa. These reading havens nurture a reading culture, support the school-going youth, and serve to disseminate pertinent information on issues confronting both the young and adult populations.

We are forever grateful to Books for Africa and the many individual book donors who made this reading haven vision a reality. Also, we extend our sincere thanks to the Safaricom Foundation who funded the shipping of ten of thousands of books from the USA to Kenya.

Our Reading Spaces Library - Thika Primary School for the Blind
Thika Primary School for the Blind is the oldest school for the blind and visually impaired in Africa. Founded in 1946, the school did not have a library and Braille books were shared between four or more blind students. Our Reading Spaces converted an old room it into a library that now houses approximately 12,000 Braille volumes and books with large text. The library now serves over 250 students and over 34 teachers.


Our Reading Spaces Library - Kairi Village
The nearest library to Kairi Village is 15km away. This distance may not seem far for those with viable modes of transportation, but to an individual walking on foot, a trip to the library is a day's journey. Through the generosity of Safaricom Foundation, approximately 12,000 books were sorted and packed by volunteers in Atlanta, Georgia and arrived in Kairi village, Kenya on October 6th, 2010 to establish the Our Reading Spaces - Kairi village. The Kairi Community donated a piece of land to for the library and Bidco Ltd. donated a shipping container to house the books. Here is a link to some project pictures

This community resource serves over 2,600 students and teachers from the 12 schools within a 5km radius. The library is also open to the adult residents of the Kairi Community. Daily attendance is over 100 visitors. Our goal is to raise funds to build a comfortable reading space for the Kairi community by 2014.