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Kenyan man in Ohio collecting books for hometown

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2009

Lucas resident Aloys Kamwithi wants to start a library in his hometown of Kyeni Embu, Kenya. (Submitted)

Lucas resident Aloys Kamwithi wants to start a library in his hometown of Kyeni Embu, Kenya. (Submitted)

MANSFIELD — His goal is to provide the children of Kyeni Embu the same educational opportunities he had growing up. But he needs help from a community far away from his Kenyan home.

Aloys Kamwithi, a child therapist at Richland County’s Center for Individual and Family Services and a Kyeni Embu native, is collecting books to start the first library in his hometown.

The Lucas resident moved to Ohio in 1996 to complete his graduate studies at Ashland University.

“Initially, I was not planning on staying but I fell in love, got married and became a citizen,” Kamwithi said.

Through it all, he never forgot his hometown.

In 1998, Kamwithi began with working with and sponsoring several Embu orphans. On a recent trip back, he was struck with an idea he believes will help even more.

“For the last five years, academic performance has very much been declining,” Kamwithi said. “Last year, only one student out of 50 went on to high school. The rest of them failed. I decided providing books for the kids is essential.”

Kamwithi said lessons are taught in English.

“You have to learn English to do math and every other subject,” he said. “The kids in my village don’t make it because their reading and English skills are not strong — so the library is the best facility I could give.”

Kamwithi said HIV also is a very serious problem for teens.

“The girls and boys are not going to school, so instead they’re abusing drugs and alcohol and then doing other things they shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “We have the highest death rate in Kenya from AIDS, and I think education will help curb this.”

Through generous donations from the Korean United Methodist Church in Mansfield as well as some private donors, Kamwithi has already purchased about 2,500 books.

“Right now, I’m storing them in a crate, which I’m trying to fill before I send it off to them,” he said. “The crate could hold about 20,000 books.”

He’s seeking any type of books appropriate for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“I’m doing this because I’m passionate about helping,” he said. “I was helped when my father died when I was 4. I was able to go to school with the help of people I never even knew. When I remember what people did for me, I want to pay it forward. Plus, I want to show the kids from my village that they, too, can have a future.”

For more information, visit www.huruma.org/index.html or call Kamwithi at 216-403-3767.

jkinton@nncogannett.com
419-521-7220

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3 Responses to “Kenyan man in Ohio collecting books for hometown”

  1. peter kieni said

    Tell kamwithi that is good of him.It the only way child can see the world in full.Tell kamwithi to get in touch with me through my cell & we can see what i can do.I may have a book to donate.
    keep posted-merry x-mass

  2. peter kieni said

    email http://www.wanohipk@yahoo.com

  3. peter kieni said

    not corrrect it should be wwww.wanjohipk@yahoo.com

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