“This is something very necessary for Liberia because in terms of education we are all the way behind,” Ricks said.
Ricks distributing educational care packages to students in Liberia.
Jenkins, previously a teacher at Dayton Job Corps Center, taught a class of African students from various countries. She assigned an essay to detail their lives and was able to learn their struggles they faced back home. Jenkins said her experience with them made her more aware of the trials African students face serving as her first look into their troubles before Ricks brought the library idea to her.
“He and his mom go to Goodwill and flea markets to purchase books and send them to Liberia. I was so compelled by his story I asked, how can I help,’” Jenkins said.
Together Jenkins and Ricks founded their non-profit Library for Africa in late 2019.
They bought two acres of land and are working to raise $350,000 to build out a multipurpose library complex that will house educational services, a community and adult learning center.
“We want the library to be 21st century modern digital technological library. We’ll have some books but I want to focus more on technology where we could have computers, laptops, iPads where we can load hundreds of books on and we don’t have to worry about how to keep those shelves filled with books that are out of circulation,” Jenkins said.
Co Founder, Veleta Jenkins, prepares to distribute books to students through Dayton youth programs.
In addition to raising money for the future library, Ricks and Jenkins have created educational care packages of backpacks filled with books calculators, school supplies and iPads for Dayton students and students at Ardju Preparatory and Daycare Center in Monrovia, Liberia.
“We sent about 1,800 books over to a school in Liberia. They want the same thing that anybody else’s kids want, and I tell them I’m determined to try to help you get it,” she said. They want access to quality education and that
Ricks and Jenkins originally wanted to start construction later this year but haven’t been able to come close to their goal due to the pandemic stunting their ability to do fundraiser and in person gatherings.
Ricks said the library will be a valuable tool to help teach and develop the minds of young Liberian children and won’t give up until it’s finished.
Jenkins said the best way to help is through financial support. To donate to Library for Africa visit their website or their Go Fund Me page.