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Local Employee Building Library in Ghana

A grassroots effort to take on literacy in a village in west Africa.

An unassuming pile of books has been gathering at for weeks with a handwritten sign on them: “Books for Ghana." 

Eric Asafo, who works in the accounting department of Norcross-based , stopped by the café to collect several boxes on a recent morning—and to meet a local group of children whose families helped him raise some of the books for the library he has planned in the village where he was born.

Asafo recently went home to visit his father and to check in on the sizeable plot of land he has secured for his non-profit in Atsito, in the Volta region of Ghana.  He said that libraries do exist in Ghana, but they are limited to cities and universities—certainly not that village of about 1500.

Asafo, who walked five miles everyday to get an education when he was kid, said founding the non-profit was extremely personal.  After moving to the city and graduating high school, he stayed involved with kids. He said he noticed something about children in Ghana: They were hungry for information, they were curious, but they just didn’t have the resources they needed to stimulate them. 

Asafo, who moved to the U.S. to attend college in 1999, said he sometimes can’t help but compare the two countries. “We have a lot of things here, but we don’t always appreciate them,” he said. 

He hopes that this project will really feed some kids who are hungry for information. He wants to build a collection for kids of all ages, in all subjects.

For the first big book push, came from another lover of literacy, Donna Blanton. Blanton hosts a , delighting kids with her entertaining readings and, often, crafts. She sent an email blast to all of her current and former students from storytime and also to her daughters’ school and to Norcross Neighbors, a neighborhood group in Historic Norcross.  The result was the several boxes and a bag of books that Asafo gathered up with a wide smile. 

For starters, the books will not be available for check out, but kids will be able to read them on site. “One thing about Ghana is that when you get a book, you want to keep it,” Asafo laughed. 

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