Friday, February 1, 2013

Community Library

By now most of you who read my blog or follow me on other social
networks know that I am currently trying to help establish a library
and study center in my west African village in Benin, Tobre.

Right now, I am working with the chief of my community, who is
equivalent to the mayor in the states, to create a budget, answer all
the necessary questions for the grant, and track down the people who
will help us with installing the materials.

What we hope to creat is a public space where community members,
specifically local students, can come to study and do outside research
necessary to supplement their in-class learning. Students in my
vollage, like most students in Africa, do not have books of their own
that they can study from. Teachers, as well do not have books that
they can teach from and in my opinion their is no privacy or a space
students have of their own to work in because of the communal society
they live in. In my village, there is no electricity so most students
work by flashlight or by cell phone light late at night. The cheif and
I have taken that into consideration and decided we would like to
install solar panels, which will make the library and study center the
only buildings with light in my village.

In African culture, the children do most of the house work along with
the mothers. Boys usually do house work until they are teenagers and
after aren't expected, like the girls, to help out but focus on school
work. This project will be beneficial especially to girls in that most
students come back from school around six or seven at night and are
expected to do household chores, prepare meals, bath their younger
sibilings and themselves, and then work on their school work. It
becomes difficult in that there might be only a couple hours left in
the day and if you live in a house with many children you can hardly
focus. It is also our hopes to provide a condusive study enviornment
where students are encourage, especially girls, to study.

If our grant is funded we will buy a computer and printer, which will
be the first of its kind in my village. We also would like to buy a
photocopy machine, we will have the solar panels installed, which are
being provided by the community, along with a blackboard. We will buy
books for the library and have tables, chairs, and bookcases maded. We
want to also supply pens, paper, and pencils.

If you are at all interested or would like to know more please contact
me by email at, of course allowing a few
days to weeks for a response or mail me at:

Alexandra Keenan
B.P. 359