Finding libraries, especially in rural areas with well stocked books for use by students is not common in Ghana. Some of the libraries are fortunate to have books courtesy of the benevolence of some philanthropists. One of such philanthropists is Frank Abeiku Adams, whose research studies for his undergraduate certificate took him to Ekumfi, as a volunteer teacher to help the community senior high school.
Thanks to crowd funding, Mr Abeiku, an agri-business investor, has been able to stock the libraries at the senior high school and basic schools with the right books, improving the level of literacy and education in the Ekumfi district. Through his project ‘Book the Shelve’, he is not just putting smiles on the faces of pupils and students in Ekumfi, but improving their lives alongside.
Many students in the community are fishermen, hunters and farmers and usually, many victims of child trafficking come from Ekumfi due to the fact that access to quality education is highly restricted.
“My research studies in 2010 for my undergraduate certificate, took me to Ekumfi as a volunteer teacher. Aside it being purely historical research, I took interest in the socio-economic development of the district because of some government documents I came across.
“By then, I had already registered an organisation back in school, so through that, I launched the project here in Ekumfi with the intention of raising more volunteers to support and help with the illiteracy challenge, but it became a problem. I later resolved to advocate for funds to stock the empty libraries,” he said.
‘Book the Shelve’, he noted, is basically about acquiring more books and other reading materials for the Ekumfi district to help fight the challenge of illiteracy. The two key areas he has identified as the source of the challenge is the unavailability of reading materials and also unavailability of personnel or proper tuition to guide and fight the illiteracy challenge in the community.
“In fact, in the Ekumfi district, all basic schools have no libraries to even have reading materials. So ‘Book the Shelve’ is just to solve this problem. 35 per cent of the funding comes from my pocket, and the rest is from benevolent sponsors who donate books and sums of money,” he said.
Through his hard work, the first set of students who were lured back to the classroom with the books and without paying fees, have now come back from tertiary education as volunteer teachers. Two of them are also now teachers in Kumasi, another is in the University of Cape Coast, a first-class student. “This same project took me to Sierra Leone to render my support to a similar project.”
With a literacy project like this, a lot of the challenge had to do with funds and trust. The books are very expensive and accessing the needs, some of them had to be imported from the United States, he said. “Now the people who were supporting with donations needed to establish some sort of trust with me to know that their support is actually for the right course.”
Going forward, he intends getting more funding for the platform, get connected to people of like mind and interest, so that he could do more for the district because Ekumfi has 55 basic schools and not a single one of them has a library.
Frank was nominated by Lord Kweku Sekyi who noted that Frank’s project is one that he has been following on social media, aside having a personal relationship with him.
“I thought it was a very laudable project that was worth sharing, and the whole world needs to see. In as much as I am personally interested in education and development, it was time to support him and nominating him was the way I could get him the support he needs.”
Heroes of Change
Commenting on Frank’s project, the Corporate Services Executive of MTN Ghana, Samuel Koranteng said: “We initiated the MTN Heroes of Change to identify and reward projects such as ‘Book the Shelve’.”
The other nine nominees are Diana Adjei, David Hagan, Louisa Enyonam Ansah, Daniel Owusu Asiamah, Justin Yelevielbayire, Mawusi Awity, Charles Ofori Antipem, Rev. Fr Dominic Azumah
BY TIMES REPORTER