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Empowering Youth Through Reading

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By Shae Amatkiran (YES 2017-2018, Suriname, hosted by World Link in Manitou Springs, Co)

On August 29, 2018, a group of YES alumni from the most recent cohort, combined our efforts and resources to collect and donate books to a small library in the outskirts of Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname. This library was opened six months ago by the foundation ‘Kansrijk Suriname’ in a poor neighborhood called Sunny Point. After seeing a post on Facebook about the library asking for the donation of books, we (Jenneley Malone, Jair Kappel, Auguillio Mohammed and Shae Amatkiran) of the YES 15 cohort (2017-2018) decided to organize a book drive. We published a post on social media asking for the donation of books and as a result we ended up collecting 272 books in two months. 

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The library opens three days in a week from 4pm to 7pm and is visited by approximately 70 to 80 children, students and adults per day. They pay a quarterly fee of SRD 2,50 (only $0.34) and the books can be borrowed for one or two weeks depending on the kinds of books. The venue also functions as a place where children gather to play games, do puzzles or draw. 

Sunny Point is a poor neighbourhood in outskirts of Paramaribo; the people living here are underprivileged and did not have electricity and running water until two years ago. This is one of the reasons why the foundation ‘Kansrijk Suriname’ decided to focus on this area. The members of this organization help coordinating the library and offer free dance and music lessons for children in Sunny Point. 

The library was very happy and grateful for the donation. We told them about the YES program and how we came to the initiative to organize a book drive. By seeing what we can do to build up communities like this, we as YES alumni get inspired and motivated to do more community service projects.

YES alumni involved in this project:

Jair Kappen (YES 2017-2018, Suriname hosted by AFS USA in Chaston, WI)

Jenneley Malone (YES 2017-2018, Suriname, hosted by American Councils in Elkhart, IN)

Auguillio Mohamad (YES 2017-2018, Suriname, hosted by AYUSA in San Antonio, TX)

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