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For the majority of students in both EdPowerment’s Sponsorship Program and the community-based Kilimahewa Educational Center, the world is very small.  It consists of their extended family’s shambas (small vegetable farms with maybe a few chickens, goat and cow), the surrounding villages, churches, some roadside stores and gathering places where men drink mbege (the local brew).  A trip into the closest urban center, Moshi, is uncommon.  Televisions are reserved for the “rising middle class” (so-called in the press lately, but not a reality where we operate).  Our students’ families can neither afford nor in some cases, be able to read local newspapers. 
The fact is that many of the teens we serve live with grandmothers who have all they can handle in trying to piece together meals and shelter.  EdPowerment offers these teenagers their only link to the world outside their villages and more important, to a world of learning.  This year, 2013, we are launching two exciting and, without exaggeration, life-changing programs. 
Selecting books at Kase Stores Ltd. in Arusha – fiction, non-fiction, “how-to books,” in English and Swahili
IT MAY BE OLD SCHOOL IN THE U.S., BUT THIS SUMMER WE ARE ESTABLISHING A LIBRARY AT THE KILIMAHEWA CENTER.   Thanks to the “Ride for Kili’s Kid’s” fundraiser this June at SoulCycle, NYC, steps have begun to install a library in one of the Center’s original rooms.  Our U.S. and Tanzanian staff have worked with volunteers who organized the fundraiser (Stacy Lauren and her daughter Carly Doyle) assisted by our volunteer sisters (Celia and Maya Joyce) to get this project off the ground.

Here Kerri Elliott shows the list of books  to local teachers, Rebecca and Godlisten, and explains how to use the card check-out system.
As of this week, Kili’s teens are now checking out books to bring home.  They are learning how to care for books and how to participate responsibly in a borrowing process.  They are learning about their own interests and reading capabilities.  Eventual plans are to open the library to their siblings and families.
Now our students can develop their minds and expand their universe right in their own village.  

The world is coming to them. Tomorrow, we will share how they are venturing into the world… this time with laptops.