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Curiosity of two little boys gave rise to book club

Dinah Mwangi grew up reading and when she became an aunt, she found herself collecting books to read to her nieces and nephews.

In March 2012, Dinah sat at a car wash in South B perusing through books she was waiting to give to her nieces when she noticed two small boys curiously staring at her.

After the usual greetings, they agreed to read the books together as her car was being washed.

When she was about to leave, the boys aged about six years told her that they did not have any books to read at home.

Keep promise

She wrote down the name of their school with a promise to buy them books. When she fulfilled this promise and saw the sparkle in their eyes, Dinah, a biotechnology graduate, knew she had found her life’s purpose.

After the encounter with the two boys from Mukuru Kwa Njenga slum, Dinah, a marketer with a pharmaceutical company, felt a strong conviction that every child deserves a book to read.

Barely a month later, she took part of her salary, bought 100 books and started Aunt Dee’s book club in Great Wall Estate in Mlolongo where she lived at the time.

Seventy children turned up for the meeting, recalled the 28-year-old.

Gather children

Dinah later talked to friends and thereafter launched the project in estates in Embakasi, where she had moved to.
She could gather the children and ask volunteers to read the books to them.

Within five months, word had gone round about her project and in October 2012, she was invited to attend a five-week training programme in Washington DC on social entrepreneurship.

While in the US, she met with the founder of First Book Global Kyle Zimmer, and that is how First Book Kenya was born.

First Book Global donates books while Dinah documents data from around the country so as to come up with ways on how to best to deal with illiteracy that still plagues some parts of the country.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dinah works as a marketer but at night fall, she retreats to her home office to craft ways on how best she can manage her social enterprise or talk to publishers to sell her books at cheaper prices.

“My dream is that parents here will acquire the culture of reading books to their children. I would love to see children reading books in their native languages. Every child deserves that.”