The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

‘One Brick, One Smile!’ Residents raise money to build community Library, reviving book reading culture

With the advent of electronic book readers such as Kobo, Boox and Kindle, you will think physical libraries will be obsolete things, but this is not exactly the case in Arusha where residents of Arumeru are in the process of building and equipping a community library with real books.

Real books and other paper-based publications continue to be an important component in youth education, according to ‘The Girls Foundation of Tanzania,’ (TGFT) an education-oriented organization which is initiating the project to establish a community library in Arusha.

The Director of The Girls Foundation Tanzania, Estahappy Mariki said the new community library will be built at the Ngaramtoni Ward of Arusha-Rural District.

TGTF provides educational support to girls who show academic potential in schools and young women living in extreme poverty, through tuition scholarships and other learning opportunities outside of school.

“The youth here have shown great interest in reading physical books, not only for education but to entertainment and virtual discoveries,” said Ms Mariki, adding that her foundation has been collecting books from various people and organizations towards the cause.

She was speaking during the inaugural campaign to raise funds for the construction of the community library, an initiative dubbed ‘One Brick-One Smile or One Block-One Smile!’

“We feel that every person can contribute at least one brick, which will eventually make members of the public play an active role in the establishment of the library and have a sense of ownership in the project,” said the Director.

On her part, Ms Anande Nnko, the Director of Grammi Organization who led the fundraising event, lauded the initiative of ‘The Girls Foundation of Tanzania,’ pointing out that the best investment that any community will ever make is education for its youth.

According to Anande Nnko the exercise has so far succeeded in raising 28 million/- out of the projected 100 million/- needed to construct and equip the proposed community library facility.

On her part, Ms Diana Erasto, a High School graduate pointed out that, there are many people who think that the world has gone digital and that all reading is done from the palm of the hand using digital gadgets.

“It is hard to concentrate when you consume written materials from smartphones, tablets and other digital media as reading requires a conducive environment,” said Ms Erasto.

Public libraries, on the other hand, happen to be rare things in Arusha, since independence the region has been having a single such facility located along Sokoine road adjacent to River Naura.

Other small libraries can be found integrated inside institutions such as the Alliance Francaise, the UN-Mechanism and a few colleges.

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