Prestea Community Library in Ghana

By Bill Griffin, District Stewardship Subcommittee Chair, District 6970

The vision for the Prestea Community library project began in the Catholic Church of the Epiphany where Father John Bosco Maison serves as pastor and three members of the Rotary Club of Daytona Beach West (District 6970) attend each week.  Father John created the vision for a library in his home town of Prestea, Ghana to honor his mother and her passion for literacy and education.

Many of the children of Prestea leave school early to work in the gold mines that surround the area.  Due to the lack of books, they do not have the opportunity to develop literacy skills and a love for learning. Many may not realize the freedom that reading can deliver – a luxury to most in Daytona Beach West.

Library Dedication

Gloria (left) and Fran Markette (right) with two Prestea youth acknowledge the spirit and support of Rotary. Photo by Larry Young

The Rotary Club of Daytona Beach West received a Rotary Foundation District Grant of $6,500 during the 2014-15 grant cycle to purchase books, periodicals and computers for the library.  Rotarian Fran Markette and Father John Boscos connected with key citizens of the Prestea community, including librarians Gladys Agandaa and Peter Anafo to assist in establishment of a bona fide library operation.  The librarian assisted with the development of a book list, the acquisition of the books, and the delivery to Prestea.  Having a committed local contact was of utmost importance for the success of this project.

The church helped raise the funds for the library construction.  The Rotary Club of Daytona Beach West co-sponsored fundraising classical piano concerts with the church over the past three years performed by fellow Rotarian and renowned pianist Francesco Attesti from the Tuscany area of Italy.

Library Dedication

Students and residents at the opening ceremony and dedication of the Prestea Martha Eshun Maison Library. Photo by Fran Markette

Church members contributed additional books, school supplies, youth clothing and recreational items to fill a shipping container that was delivered and distributed to the teachers, youth and residents of Prestea at the time of the library dedication.

Rotarians Fran and Gloria Markette traveled with Father John Bosco and fellow church members Larry and Susen Young for the library dedication in June 2015. They delivered books, installed the computers, met the residents of Prestea and shared the mission and values of Rotary during their stay.  The Rotary Foundation District Grant brought Rotary to life within the church community.  Through the grant, district 6970 was able to partner with other organizations, facilitate “Doing Good” with Rotarians and Rotary clubs. The Rotary Club of Daytona Beach West is a better, more vital club because of the grant and the Prestea Community Library in Ghana.

Library Dedication

Prestea residents reading the new books at the library dedication. Photo by Fran Markette

Give to The Rotary Foundation and support education and literacy projects similar to the Prestea Community Library, and share your stories of service projects in the comments below.

 

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