What is the Somerville Ghana Library Project?
In 2003, a free public library sprung up in Ghana’s Cape Coast, and has been used by hundreds of adults and children over the past decade. 'Molly's Library' was born of a friendship between Somerville student Hattie Begg, who volunteered in Ghana, and the wonderful host of the library Molly Yankey. Together they wanted to create a learning resource centre for the local community that they hoped would help fight illiteracy by providing access to materials and a space for learning.
Hattie gathered a group of friends and supporters at Somerville College, and they managed to collect over 6000 donated books and raise funds to ship them to Molly. Almost every year since Somerville students have been welcomed back by Molly. They bring materials, assist the librarians and help teach English in the summers, as well as raising funds annually to pay the ongoing running costs. Molly's Library is an educational resource for people of all ages, giving access to textbooks, fiction, drama and foreign language books. Used by over 300 people each week, the library is now at the heart of the community.
Photos: Trip to Molly's Library in 2009
We need your help
The building that Molly used for the library since 2003 is no longer available for rent. The library is currently stored in a temporary location, but this building is unsuitable, with little space for books or for people to read them. A plot of land adjacent to the local school has been purchased with support raised by Somerville students. Now, we hope raise the funds to enable the construction of a new and permanent library.
Plans for the building include a teaching room, reading room, washroom, storeroom and a small office. Split into three stages, the build will begin with the foundations, move to the framework of the building and the completion stage will provide windows, doors, plumbing and painting. Our minimum target is that required for the first two stages. The total goal would cover the full cost building the library. If we are successful, any additional funds will go towards new library resources, such as new furniture, additional books, and even a computer. We need your help to build a permanent library, and invest in the future of a whole community!
Photos: The temporary library
What we’ve done so far
Somerville students have come together and shown their huge support for this project. We have been holding raffles, bake sales, karaokes, jumper sales and whatever else we can think of to raise as much money as possible. Together, the Somerville undergraduates (JCR) have created an impressive £3,000 to offer as a match for those first gifts of support.
Why is it important?
According to UNICEF, 28.5% of people aged 15 and over in Ghana are illiterate, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development placed Ghana at the very bottom of its global school ranking. Access to books and materials is a major factor; the next nearest public library to Molly's is more than a 12km walk away. Unfortunately, the temporary accommodation is only a short-term solution. Unless we can help create a permanent space to house the library, Molly's Library will soon cease to be the valuable resource in the community it has become over the last decade. Please give what you can to help Molly and her community keep the library they love.
Photos: Trip to Molly's Library in 2012
Help us succeed!
If you can’t donate, but still want to get involved, you can help Molly by spreading the word and sharing this project with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, email and all other social media. Your support means so much - providing access to books and learning for a community has an immeasurably positive behavioural, psychological and educational impact. Thank you very much for your help.
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