Books to build a brighter future
Yvonne set up the WE-CARE library during the worst of the Liberian civil war. She has made it her mission to provide a space where children can build a brighter future. This is her story.
My name is Yvonne, and together with my husband Michael, I run the WE-CARE library in Monrovia, Liberia. For 30 years, we’ve been working to create safe spaces for children to learn how to read, practise their reading and do their homework.
During the war, our education system broke down. People took books from the library and had to burn them to cook food to eat. Furniture for libraries was turned into firewood. Everything was destroyed. But we knew education was the way forward. When I was not out looking for food for my nieces and nephews and my parents, I was reading.
My inner strength was for the books that I read – and I wanted to share that strength with others.
Our WE-CARE library started in the heat of the civil war. It was a time when people thought all was lost. But we knew that with education, Liberia would rise again. We started off as a book chain. You took and read a book and then you gave it to somebody else. This evolved into the WE-CARE library.
Today, the WE-CARE library is in the inner city of Monrovia. You have people living in shacks, behind high-rise buildings. They are petty traders, selling on the sidewalk.
Our library is a space where, when the children come from school, they can do their homework because they will not find the most current books in their school reading room or in their school library. Also the smaller children, while their parents are selling on the sidewalk, can come and utilise our children’s reading room space.
Currently, we have this shortage of books in our schools, in our homes. Sometimes we find children are reading materials from the 1960s. We need books that are relevant and current so we don’t fall far behind the rest of the world when we’re reading.
We need Liberians to be readers so they can make informed decisions that improve their lives and their communities. And this is where Book Aid International comes in, because they give us brand-new books and we are able to select the type of books we need. This means more children in Liberia can have warm and welcoming places to read, surrounded by books from Book Aid International.
Give Yvonne the books she needs
Every donation enables us to send more brand-new books
Photos (c) Carielle Doe
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