Open the Books, Open Minds: How Planting Books for Liberty Have Transformed Praso MA Basic School

Imagine a school without a library. Literacy is the key to unlocking opportunity, yet for many youngsters, access to books is still a faraway dream. This was the sad reality at Praso MA Basic School in the Ashanti region of Ghana. 

A quick awareness of the pupil’s inadequate reading ability by one teacher, John Imoro, sparked an interest in investigating this terrible situation. The investigation discovered that the school had no library and no reading time was scheduled.

John Imoro, a basic school teacher, was always looking for ways to help my pupils progress, particularly in reading and verbal skills.  At that moment, the funds received as a gift from his grandmother, Phyllis Skonicki triggered an idea: his pupils sorely needed a school library. He has been teaching English language and Social studies at Asante Akim Praso MA Basic School for the past two years. At Akim Praso MA Basic School, more than 80% of students hailed from low-income families. Many people lacked books at home and struggled to read. A well-stocked classroom library could provide valuable exposure and practice.

The idea for a school library arose with a discussion between four teachers. Nathaniel, Prosper, Jackson, and John envisioned a book-filled space where our pupils could explore and lose themselves in stories. It was only an idea, but like the seedlings in our school garden, it had the potential to grow into something lovely. They pitched the idea to the school administration, who loved it. They measured the area in a back corner, repositioned the furniture, and started painting the walls.

The library walls had inspiring inscriptions like, “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader”, and “Be curious, read a book”. As soon as the painting was done, the team started to create the shelves. Now, the school has got a library but no books. 

The team mailed letters to numerous organizations, libraries, philanthropists, and educational institutions across the country, requesting assistance in stocking the shelves. Issah Musah Aziba sent an email to the YAFO Institute requesting book donations to help a library project at Praso MA school. 

Our Start Right Campaign seeks to empower minds particularly individuals in the hinterlands with books on free market. This project was launched in 2023 and has since distributed over 2180. The project has benefited sister think tanks like Ghanaian Students for Liberty, and ILEE Policy Institute among others, community libraries including Saboline Community Library,  and Pokuase Community Library as well as schools Dichemso M/A Junior High and Glory Preparatory School. 

Having achieved such an impact in 2023, it is not surprising that the story at Praso MA Basic School was one that inspired and moved the team at YAFO Institute to swiftly respond by donating some 200 liberty books within the shortest possible time. 

Currently, the library at Praso MA Basic has over 500 books and we are glad to have contributed to the course of improving the literacy of the pupil. 

One pupil, Wirenkyiwaa Georgina said:

my reading skills have improved because I now have access to a lot of books to read

Wirenkyiwaa Georgina

Rosemond Affra Addi Darkwa added:

I am now confident to speak among my peers because of the reading club our English teacher has formed for us

Rosemond Affra Addi Darkwa

We are confident that the school would be a great addition to our upcoming project on JG. We are grateful that our support went a long way to impact the pupils at Praso MA Basic School. We also express our gratitude to our partners, Atlas Network and Divine Economy Model for assisting us with books on free market. 

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