Welcome to the new blog of the Children’s Peace Education Network! I am here in Kigali as a volunteer for the summer with the African Great Lakes Initiative, primarily working in the library. I helped start the Children’s Peace Library two years ago, with 200 books brought in suitcases. When I showed up in Rwanda a month ago, the library was in a new (bigger) room and there were over 500 books. I’ve been inputting some recent donations, and there are now about 1,000 books on the shelves.

Library in June 2011, before expansion

We are currently undergoing a massive overhaul of the library. We have a donation of 10,000 books waiting to be picked up in Burundi (many thanks to the Mennonite Central Committee), so we are in the process of expanding our lending capacity. This involves not only restructuring our actual space, but setting up a new checkout system to accommodate  increasing student use.

Things are busy here: new shelves are being built, the walls and floor are being repainted, and books are being reorganized. I’ll post some pictures of the construction soon!

-Kirsten Mandala