Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) will launch their newest library and study hall in the heart of the Mathare slums Saturday, 15 February. Other MYSA libraries are already operating in the MYSA Githurai, MYSA community centre Komarocks and Mathare North Zones.
MYSA started establishing new community libraries and study halls in the Mathare and neighboring slum in 2002 in order to provide conducive and safe space for reading, studying, doing homework, sharing knowledge and building friendships.
Poverty makes it difficult for many families in the slums to afford even the basic textbooks needed by their children. Other books and reading materials are just too expensive.
Moreover, many families share only a single small and congested room which lacks electricity and is too dark for reading even during the day, says the Nairobi-based organization that uses sports and other social activities to keep children and the youth in Nairobi's slums on the right track.
The MYSA libraries and study halls help promote and develop a new reading culture among tens of thousands of youth in the slums. The Mathare library is in a newly constructed three storey building which can host around 400 students a day.
The library will be opened by Harald Bant, the Chairman of MYSA Friends in Holland, which donated the funds for building the new library as well as the MYSA library in Githurai.
The event will also be attended by members of the MYSA Board of Trustees, government representatives, local schools, churches and community leaders.
Since 1987, the MYSA leaders and youth have pioneered the linking of self-help youth sport with community development activities such as slum garbage cleanups, environmental improvement and HIV/AIDs prevention.
Today, 27 years later, MYSA is now the largest self-help youth sports and community service organisation in Africa and is recognized as an example of excellence in the now global sport for development movement.