Read2Lead Foundation, a non-profit organization that was established eight (8) years ago to aid the next generation of leaders through reading, has opened its third library at Kotei, a suburb of Kumasi in the Oforikrom Municipality.
The 5,000-square-foot new library, which also has a community centre, offices, private study rooms, and an ICT Lab with 20 modern computers is projected to serve 30,000 students, including those from Kumasi’s Kotei R/C Primary School, Junior High School and students at the nearby Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Samantha Boateng, Co-Founder of Read2Lead, stated that the third library was intentionally designed to not only support and serve school children within the Kotei community but also a desire to give back to her roots. The first two libraries are located at the Gbawe Cluster of Schools in Accra, and Asuodei in the Ahafo Ano South Basic School in the Ashanti Region.
According to Ms. Boateng, the project broke ground in 2017 and was completed in February 2023. “I am from Kotei and building this library was purposely to give back to the community that has made me who I am today. Students who come to the library are able to access not only books but have access to private study rooms, an ICT Lab that offers students different ICT courses and soon we will be adding other creative arts courses to empower these students and enhance their knowledge,” she said.
Francisca Boateng, the foundation’s co-founder, in sharing the Read2Lead story, revealed that the drive to start the foundation was fuelled by a passion to improve schoolchildren’s knowledge, and the realization that there are not enough libraries in Ghana increased the urge to give back to the Ghanaian community.
“It all began when I used to travel to Ghana from the USA to teach in schools. I told my daughter about this when I returned home, and she made the decision to assist by collecting books from her school and friends. To help the schools where Read2Lead libraries are located, we collect and ship books, furniture for libraries and schools, and instructional materials,” she said.
Regional Director for Education, Ashanti Region, Dr. William Kwame Amankra Appiah who was guest speaker at the unveiling ceremony lauded Read2Lead’s Foundation for complimenting government’s effort to bridge the illiteracy gap.
He noted that although government is giving its best to ensure that the Ghanaian child is aided with the best education, it is necessary that other stakeholders come on board to achieve that goal. “It is imperative that we all work hand-in-hand to deepen the collaboration that exists between the Ghana Education Service and various stakeholders in order to promote good quality life for all children irrespective of their economic and socio-cultural background,” he said.
In a speech read on behalf of the Oforikrom Municipal Director for Education, Dorothy Opare Baidoo, she reiterated that the Ghana Education Service has not relented on its effort to open its doors to all who have the desire to supplement government’s effort to improve the educational, economic, and socio-cultural needs of the citizenry and charged the community to cultivate a maintenance culture to protect the facilities.
“I take this opportunity to charge the school authorities and the people of Kotei and its surroundings to make good use of this Library and the toilet facilities. Protect it as a valuable property because that is what it is and let it reflect in your lives,” she mentioned.
Former Deputy Minister for the Ashanti Region, Honourable Elizabeth Agyeman also urged parents to keep encouraging their wards to make use of the library so they can grow to become responsible leaders within the community and the nation at large. “The more we as parents encourage our children to spend time in the library, the more likely we are to produce the next generation of responsible leaders for this town and the nation,” she added.
Chief for the Kotei Community, Nana Oppong Bensua said that there is no better companion than a good book and urged students in the community to use the newly build library as their study abode to acquire more knowledge and information.
“With the help of this library facility, replace the times you spend on your phones and TV with good books. Once you start reading, you experience a whole new world. When you start loving the habit of reading, you eventually get addicted to it and it will help shape your life for good,” he added.
The Kotei R/C Basic School’s Management Committee (SMC) represented by Joan Preprah said: “The school management together with all the teachers and students are really grateful to Samantha and her team for blessing our community with this multifaceted library and a toilet facility.”
Other highlights at the opening included a presentation of citations to Gar-Field High School for their continuous assistance in assisting in Read2Lead’s efforts by coordinating students to help in the cataloguing, inventorying, and sorting donations for the foundation and a presentation to Mr. Douglas Yelbie for dedicating his time and foreseeing that the third project was a success.
The opening also made room for students of the Kotei Community R/C basic school to deliver poemsand cultural dance presentations.
Read 2 Lead is a non-profit organization that seeks to empower the next generation of leaders in Ghana through literacy programmes and increasing access to books. Current Read2Lead libraries in Ghana include Gbawe Cluster of Schools in Accra, Ahafo Ano South Basic School in the Ashanti Region, and Kotei R/C Primary and JHS in Kumasi. The non-profit organisation has so far impacted over 72,000 students and has in its library over 50,000 books to benefit these students.