The 10-year-old British-Ghanaian author, artist and philanthropist, Sarah Afia Kittoe has made a commitment to refurbish the school library of the St. Paul’s Methodist Basic School in Tema, Ghana.
Sarah, who has authored three books, made the promise on her recent visit to Ghana with her family to share her story of resilience, purpose, can-do, friendship and family values as contained in her three books with kids in Ghana.
The two-week-long tour took her to almost all the leading media platforms in the country for interviews about her books. The media platforms including GTV Breakfast Show, JoyPrime, GHOne, MetroTV, GBC Women Affairs, Sweet Melodies, CitiTV as well as the Joy Learning Channel.
Through those visits, little Sarah met some of the biggest media personalities in Ghana – including Doreen Andoh, Kafui Dey, Samson Lardy Ayenini, Akusika Acquaye, Afia Amankwah Tamakloe, Lantam Papa Anko and others.
As part of the tour, Sarah and her family paid a visit to the St. Paul’s Methodist Basic School in Tema, which happens to be her dad, Albert Kwamena Kittoe’s alma mater. She donated copies of her books to the school and also interacted with the pupils, during which she read portions of the books to them and also interviewed them about their passions in life.
Sarah also encouraged her fellow kids to be firm and resolute about what they want to be in the future and work at it with passion, saying that “you can do anything once you put your mind to it and work at it.”
While in the school, she visited the library and according to her she was “depressed by the state of the library and the kind of books on the shelves.”
According to little Sarah, based on the kind of library she is used to back in the UK, she noticed the library at St. Paul’s Methodist Basic School looked congested in terms of the setting, and the books on the shelves were very few and most of them were not relevant for the pupils.
Sarah said she did not see how any kid could find such an environment a fun place to learn so she told her parents that she wants to organize a fundraiser back in the UK and add some of the proceeds from the sale of her books to help refurbish the library of her dad’s alma mater on her next visit to Ghana.
Sarah’s dad, Albert Kittoe said he was not surprised that her daughter wants to do something about the school library because he was also depressed by the state of the library and he knew that was going to trigger Sarah’s philanthropic spirit.
Already, Sarah has been donating all the proceeds from the sale of her books to two charities in the UK – CenterPoint, which takes care of challenged youth, and the Croydon Methodist Church Wednesday Drop-in where needy people in society go for free groceries, toiletries and some stipends every Wednesday.
But regarding the refurbishment of the library, Sarah plans to reach out to various institutions in the UK to help her raise funds to get the job done on her next visit to Ghana. Indeed, she has started the fundraiser from Thursday, May 11, 2023.
Meanwhile, during her visit to Ghana, Sarah said she had some fascinating experiences for the first time in her life and those experiences have given her more ideas for her books in the future.
Some of her first-time experiences were – a ride in a “trotro”, seeing fowls and goats moving around everywhere, finding mango, orange and avocado trees everywhere (including homes and offices) as if she was on a farm, plucking mangoes and avocados herself, hearing the honking of car horns everywhere, and seeing mini trucks (aboboyaa) overloaded with rubbish with people dangerously sitting on it.
Sarah also spoke about how terrifying it was when she saw a wall gecko and a cockroach in her room for the first time ever, and also about waking up for the first time to the early morning cock crow.
Going from Ghana, little Sarah, who says she loves to travel, has quite a tight travel itinerary over the next few months to attend the biggest book festivals around the world to promote her books. The new publishers of her books have converted all three books in A4 size and have scheduled her to travel to China, Germany, New York, Mexico and her home in London and participate in the world’s biggest book festivals.
It is not clear when Sarah will return to Ghana, but she is likely to return soon, particularly because of the school library project. She is also passionate about meeting more of her age mates in Ghana on her next visit and also to visit and donate to more charities in the country as she does in the UK.
Her parents, Albert an Nozipho Kittoe said they are beside themselves with awe about Sarah’s drive to write, illustrate her own books and also by her passion for the needy. They however noted that she is still a child and they intend to allow her to enjoy her childhood to the fullest in spite of her achievements at this early age.