“There is no friend as loyal as a book” – In this quote Ernest Hemingway speaks to the emotional attachment one can have towards a book. The way in which a book can make us feel, the way in which it can open the door to new worlds and ways of seeing. A book is different depending on who is reading it and therefore perhaps we have unspoken attachments to our books. Our books are always there for us; they are our most loyal friends.
In the Western world, books surround us, from our tablets on the tube to the limitless literature we find in our London libraries. We have fiction at our fingertips and a new story whenever we have time to sit down and read.
In Western Kenya, however, many households and schools do not have the same privilege. Indeed, books are often seen as an indirect cost of education. With little means, parents or students are often forced to pay for books or else forfeit the education. Books can therefore be seen as a barrier to education.
This month, Ace Africa has been most generously supported by Longhorn Kenya Publishers and has distributed books all over schools in Western Kenya. In the last two weeks Ace has reached schools across Bungoma, Siaya, Vihiga, Kakamega and Kisumu and Homabay Counties.
In Bungoma County 3,600 children in 3 secondary and 6 primary schools have been reached with textbooks, revision and fiction books. These will not only support those who cannot afford to buy school texts, they will help students though their revision, enable younger students to practise their reading and provide access to new information. Each school supported by the Ace Africa now owns a library of books for students to dip in and out of whenever a loyal friend is needed.