An opportunity to give: The Slum Library


Douglas is a taxi driver who lives in the Mathare Valley slum where most kids grow up without books in their homes. So he decided to turn his home into a library. At first, he wasn’t sure how he would fill it with books, but they just started showing up courtesy of his neighbors. Now the library has 3,000 books. He covers 50% of the monthly costs himself and the other 50% comes from community members. Members don’t pay anything but each of them brings in newspapers to sell to the recycling center. No matter where you live in the world or what you do, you can make a big impact.

When I first posted about the library on Instagram and Facebook many folks said they would like to support him. I asked Douglas to send me more info about his need and he sent the note below. He originally gave me the bank account info for the library, which is managed by a board from the community, but I figured many of us wouldn’t go through the trouble to wire money, so I suggested he get a PayPal account.

If you’d like to support the Slin Library you can send money via PayPal to

Hi Kelsey!!
Many thanks for visiting us and sharing our story with your friends, that’s very humbling and kind of you. Our library is now back to normal after some post-election tension in the area and fracas between the locals and the police force. The disturbances were almost 400m away from the library at a place called Gateways which is the main entrance of our area.
On the other hand, we have at least 10 ways in which we can be assisted by your team, namely:
[KT: 1,000 Kenyan shillings is roughly $1]
1. We request for some assistance to be able to purchase a postal address going for Ksh. 7,780, and annual fee of Ksh 560. The postal address will helps as in getting books, magazines, small indoor games, toys etc. for our library users.
2. We wish to delink arts activities i.e. dancing, poetry, narratives, debates, drama etc  from our study hall, this can be achieved by renting a nearby hall or buying the structure if possible, note – renting will cost us Ksh. 8,000 a month. Delinking the two will give more time to users to study.
3. We shared with you about our monthly bills which amount to Ksh. 15,500, we humbly request for any percentage in terms of assistance/contribution.
4. We shared with you on our intention to launch a computer services for an affordable fee on our community, we therefore request for a computer, digital camera and a commercial copier.
5. We will be glad to own the structure that host our library, the structure is made of 3 rooms, each measuring 10X10 feet and each room going for Ksh. 200,000.
6. There are two other different rooms up for sale in our locality for Ksh. 200,000 each, we would wish to have them for rental purposes and the income will be used for our activities.
7. At least 8 of our active members are struggling with secondary school boarding fee, we wish to request for Scholarships for the same.
8. We also wish to invest in transport sector, whereby a van can be bought for us for hire assignments only and the income can be used for our activities
9. We have identified a very reputable bank in Kenya (Cooperative Bank of Kenya) that is doing agribusiness and we wish to do a value added farming with them and the profit can be channeled to our activities
10. We are also very flexible and open for other ideas.
Many thanks for your visit and pass our regards to your friends.
Douglas Ng’ang’a
Slin Library – Team Leader
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