The difference a book can make
Violet Lenger-Fofanah lives in Sierra Leone and runs a small charity that supports people living in poverty. She told us how the pandemic has affected the children she works with and why she believes books can change lives.
“In my role, I have seen so many children transform their futures through reading. More than half of families here face a daily struggle to make ends meet, and many schools have nowhere near enough teachers or even the most basic resources.
But it is my passion to make sure children get a good education – and by partnering with Book Aid International I can send books to schools and help create libraries too. Sometimes a single book is all it takes to fire a child’s imagination. You see their eyes light up. Instead of needing to share a book with other children, they can lose themselves in the pages, reading at the pace that’s right for them.
Sometimes a single book is all it takes to fire a child’s imagination.
But as the coronavirus pandemic forced schools here in Sierra Leone to close for nine long months, huge numbers of children had the magic of books stolen away from them. With their lessons stopped, children who dreamed of becoming the first nurse or doctor or lawyer in their families suddenly had to put those dreams on hold. We can’t let all that potential be lost, we need more books to help young people dream again.
My favourite thing is seeing children happy, able to go to school and progressing with their schoolwork. Education takes you where you’ve never been. It creates dreams then turns those dreams into reality. It can change the future not only of a single child but of whole communities, even whole countries. Books can help them decide who they want to be and gain the knowledge they need to follow their dreams. That’s how much difference a book can make.”