Gar-Field High School graduate building libraries one book at a time
Posted on 02/27/2018
Samantha Boateng at a Library she helped build in Ghana

In 2014, Samantha Boateng, then a 16-year-old junior at Gar-Field High School, set out to make difference in her mother’s native country, Ghana. Samantha’s mother, Francisca Boateng, visited Ghana on a mission to teach children and young adults the art of public speaking. When she returned to the United States, she explained to her daughter about the lack of a free, public library in both the rural areas and cities of Ghana.

In response to this, Samantha organized the Read2Lead campaign as her International Baccalaureate (IB) Studies Creativity Activity Service Project. She began collecting book donations to send to Ghana. With help from her Gar-Field High School community, the campaign was a huge success and it inspired her to go a step further. She founded the Read2Lead non-profit organization.

Brian Bassett, the administrative coordinator of the IB Program at Gar-Field High, serves as the chairman of the Read2Lead non-profit organization. “Samantha wanted to help develop the next generation of leaders in her parents' native country, and she felt that sharing her love of reading and helping to increase accessibility to books would be a key aspect of making a difference.” 

Samantha, who is currently a sophomore studying English and history at The College of William and Mary, said, “Read2Lead is an organization that was created to breed the next generation of leaders through reading. It is based on three objectives which are: to encourage the love of reading through literacy programs, to create libraries worldwide through monetary and book donations, and to improve international literacy rates exponentially.”

In the past three years, Read2Lead has provided tens of thousands of books and other resources to build two libraries; one in Gbawie, Accra and the other in Ashanti region on the grounds of the Ahafo Ano South Basic School.  The summer of 2018 will bring the opening of a third library with over 2,500 square feet of space on the property of Kotei RIC Primary and Junior High School.

“Our students have created artwork that we use to decorate these libraries, completed IB MYP (Middle Years Program) Personal Projects tied to this project, and we organize book drives, purchase surplus school furniture and equipment, and host book sorting events. To fund all of this work, we raise funds though International Nights and donation drives,” Bassett said.

The students are doing more than just sending resources, the past two summers Bassett has chaperoned students to do hands-on work at the Read2Lead built libraries in Ghana. Another trip is planned for this summer.

To find out more about Read2Lead and how you can help visit their website, www.read2lead.net.