This is a remarkable story of faith, determination and one community’s belief in the importance of education. Jukwa is a village of approximately 8,000 people and lies near the Cape Coast in Ghana, Africa. The chief and community leaders of Jukwa desperately wanted a library for their village. In 2005 the local government official was granted funding for the project. A ground breaking ceremony was held and the foundation was laid. A couple years later, a change in government occurred and funding ceased, as did the construction on the library.
In 2010 Amizade, a Global Service Learning Organization based in Pennsylvania, learned of the unfinished project in Jukwa. They teamed up with Peace Humanity International (a Ghanaian NGO) to bring teams of service learning volunteers to continue construction on the library. All was moving along successfully until the unfortunate decline in the economy occurred as well as the outbreak of Ebola in Africa. Volunteerism dramatically diminished and so did the funding. Once again the building progress came to a halt.
HIHFL learned of the situation in Jukwa in 2014. We met with the Amazade organization. After many discussions, we agreed to raise the funds needed to complete the construction, collect and ship the books, and help prepare the library for its opening. In October of 2015, board members Karen Steinberg and Deb McNally, travelled to Jukwa to organize and set up the library. The same dedicated leaders who were responsible for starting this project in 2005 were still actively working with us to bring their dream to fruition.
The Jukwa Community library officially opened January 2016. Within this beautiful octagonally shaped building there is: a children’s room, an adult room, a computer room, a conference room and a resource room. There are also hundreds of excited children now sitting in cozy corners of the library or quiet spaces outside reading books for the first time in their lives!