Last week, Kenya’s ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Njeru Githae, addressed a capacity crowd Thursday as the keynote speaker at the Books for Africa annual fundraising luncheon at the Town and Country Club in St. Paul, sponsored by Thomson Reuters.

Introduced by Sharon Sayles Belton, vice president, Government Affairs and Community Relations for Thomson Reuters, Ambassador Githae – who earned a law degree from the Kenya School of Law – stressed the importance of education to the development of his country and emphasized how Kenya is keenly aware of its educational needs both structurally and materially.

“You just don’t know the difference these 1.8 million books meant to students in Kenya,” he said, citing the fact that since 1988, Kenya has been one of the top recipients of the more than 34 million books donated by Books for Africa.

During his own days as a school child in Kenya, Githae shared one text book among 10 students. “Kenya still has a lack of teachers, teaching materials and text books – for curriculum and pleasure,” he said. His country today also faces the continuous challenge of violence and terrorist extremism. “Education is the bulwark against this violence and extremism,” he said.

Githae explained that BFA has helped build opportunity in Kenya but even more books are needed. “The donation of books to children is huge. Please know that whatever your donation is to Books for Africa, it benefits the children there.”

The luncheon also featured returned Peace Corp volunteer, Anna Nathanson, who helped stock and open a library in Camaroon, with books donated through Books for Africa. Tom Warth, founder of Books for Africa, gave the closing remarks, citing that of the one billion people in Africa, half are children. “We’ve got to do more. A child growing up and never touching a book is a terrible thing.”

This post was written by Juliana Bryarly, a member of the Thomson Reuters Legal communications team.