Former Dayton teacher and student create nonprofit to build first public library in Liberia

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) -Darrius Ricks is a native of the African country, Liberia. He says to his knowledge there are no public libraries in his home country.

“You have to go to someone’s café to pay money to print out your assignment…Education is the key. No matter who you are, if you’re not educated life can be complicated,” he said.

After moving to Dayton and starting classes, he asked his English teacher, Veleta Jenkins, if he could take a box of books, that were set to be discarded home. His idea was to mail the books to Liberia. Jenkins asked why he would spend the money and effort to do this, and that’s when she learned that there was no access to a library.

“A library is everything, a library is your future,” said Jenkins.

In 2018, Jenkins and Ricks teamed up to create the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Library for Africa. While they have many outreach programs, their current mission is to raise $350,000 to build a modern and technology-focused library in Liberia.

“Your dollar, your 50 cents can change somebodies life,” said Ricks.

“They just want to have equity, a chance to be equal, and [to] have an equal playing field. That’s why I want to give them a gift of a library,” said Jenkins.

Changing lives is what they aim to do with their organization. Already, 2 acres of land in Liberia have been purchased to build the library on. They have a goal of breaking ground in November. In 2020, the organization has successfully done the following services:

  • Distributed Education Care Packages (contents: IPad, books, calculator, school supplies & bookbag) to youth in Dayton, Ohio & Liberia, Africa.
  • Donated books to youth in Dayton & Liberia.
  • Support elementary school in Liberia (set up school library).
  • COVID-19: weekly distribution of rice, hot meals, hand sanitizer, and face masks to communities in Liberia.
  • Installed a well cover and hand pump handle on a water well in Liberia.

The organization also supports and serves students in Dayton as well as Liberia.
For more information on supporting Library for Africa, click here.

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