Student project focuses on helping the CYEC’s children write short books!

26 May Student project focuses on helping the CYEC’s children write short books!

Penn State students travel to the CYEC each year to provide technical training. This year, one student project focuses on helping the CYEC’s children write short books:

Hi there! This weekend was a busy one! Many of our team went on a safari to the Aberdares and Solio Game Reserve. A few of us stayed behind, and spent the weekend with the children. From the perspective of the Human Development Team, it was a very productive weekend. Blair worked hard writing up books, which I (Kate) am adding pictures to today. We’re hoping to return them to their respective authors once they get home from school this afternoon. Some of the stories were written in Swahili- which presents an additional challenge- but it’s exciting to make progress towards finishing our first batch of books.

Tonight at five another wave of students will come in to write and draw. By the end of the week, we hope to publish 20 or more books. The books will be for the students’ personal use, and many have said they want to bring them into school to show their teachers.


Many students wrote about their lives on the street before they came to the CYEC. Some of the stories are hard to believe, and leave us in awe of the strength, hope and resiliency of these children. They are bright and hardworking, and it’s our hope that this project will help them gain much-deserved confidence in their intelligence and creativity.

We’re also excited to see this Unite for Literacy Book Club continue! We had a meeting with the director of the education, Issa Adam, this past weekend. We taught him how to use the program, and he seemed very excited to start a weekly bookclub for the kids, where they can write and share their stories. Also, Hazali Kenya (a NGO that promotes literacy and reading culture in Kenya) is partnering with our community to establish a new library at the CYEC. Its leader, Catherine Wanjiku, spoke to us about how thought many students in Kenya study their textbooks intensely, few read for pleasure. So once exams are over, there’s little incentive to read at all. Hazali Kenya also hopes to help the CYEC continue to its book club, melding reading and writing together to promote a readership culture among Kenyan youth.

We’re having a big kickoff for the initiative on Saturday, and we’re all pretty excited! We’ll keep you updated, but for now: tutaonana baadaye! DSC_0131DSC_0134

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