GrindBreaking: Wanja Kibuki of Vitabu Vyetu Book drive

In this month’s run of Grindbreakers, we feature Wanja Kibuki. A budding social enterpreneur who is using her love for books and children to bring a semblance of change in her small corner of her world. Enjoy!

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Wanja Kibuki

1. Who is Wanja, and what does she do?
Wanja Kibuki is a 21 year old who aims at becoming an agent of change in society one book, one child at a time. She is a full time student in USIU majoring in Diplomacy and a minor in Public Relations

2. Why Books?
Because it’s not fair for children to be sharing textbooks in class or not having exercise books. I believe that the sense of owning your education is key in the inspiration to grow more and more. Books are also near and dear to me and they have built who I am.

3. Why the name Vitabu Vyetu?

Vitabu Vyetu symbolizes the sense of ownership of one’s education tools to build their future, Books. The embracing and appreciation of one’s journey makes them eager and enthusiastic to arrive at their destination safely and ready for the future.

4. For those who are not familiar with the term, kindly tell us, what exactly is a Book Drive?
A Book drive is a campaign set up with the sole purpose if collecting or purchasing either textbooks or exercise books for an institution of need. They are mainly to help them stock up on material for writing or setting up a library.

5. What inspired you to undertake such a generous project?
My Volunteer work in Ethiopia led me to work with children and that is what led me to notice the need to reduce the level of illiteracy then on coming back to the country, I went to Kibera where I was lucky to work with an organization that also deals with children and education and here is where I noticed that the lack of books is an African problem and I needed to start from home in order to solve the problem of the level of illiteracy in the region.

6. When you’re not working on the project, what are you doing?
I’m playing with my dog, I’m cooking and spending quality time with my loved ones and working for Young Leaders‐Kenya Girl Guides Association as a Projects Coordinator

7. How do you decide on the drive locations?
We do our research on areas that are hit with the lack of material either reading or writing or even both and choose for the one who may needs us more to help them out.

Vitabu Vyetu Founders

Vitabu Vyetu co-founders

8. What has been your most satisfying moment so far?
I would say setting up the Laini Saba Community Library that is fully functional gave me so much joy to see a positive impact that will help propel the children to accessing facilities that would enrich their knowledge.

9. What value would you say your project added?
We have been able to make accessible education facilities through the books we have been able to donate and the Library Cards we recently got for 2 whole schools for them to have membership at the KNLS Library at Buruburu

10. Where do you foresee Vitabu Vyetu in the next five years?
I envision our Organization reaching out to the hard‐stricken areas where they purely have no access to education and set up schools and libraries that will give them a bright hope for building a future. Our Mission is to go beyond the border and help set up Vitabu Vyetu in other countries to also ensure we can do the same work we will do at home for them. I believe that we want to make a significant impact that will ascertain the reduction of illiteracy.

11. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced so far?
The hardship of accessing some of the areas we would want to reach out becomes a major concern for us because we have seen these places on the media and know we can do something to help.

12. How do you get funding?
We receive donations through the campaigns we set up from friends, family and well‐wishers who always come through and they always tell a friend to tell a friend and through that we are able to sustain the campaigns we have set up
13. How can one get involved with the project if they wished?
They can contact me directly via Email: kibukiwanja@yahoo.com or the organization’s mail.

14. Are you open to external support?
Yes we are. We understand that we cannot do this uphill task of reducing illiteracy by ourselves so we appreciate and welcome help from individuals, companies and other organizations.

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15. Do you have a mantra that you live by?
Enlarge Your Vision – Isaiah 54:2 – Make the tent you live in larger; lengthen its ropes and strengthen the pegs!

To take part in the project, one can reach the founders on:

  • Facebook:  Vitabu Vyetu
  • Twitter:      @VitabuVyetu
  • Email:        vitabuvyetu@gmail.com
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