When Jean Adero’s father passed away, she and her five sisters were going to lose their family home in her native country of Kenya. According to Kenyan law, women cannot inherit family property. After winning their case against the court system, Jean, a change management manager for Inventory Solutions at Cox Automotive, turned the home into a community library to help make a positive impact.
An advocate for the importance of reading, Jean dedicates herself to influencing literacy in rural Africa. In 2011, she partnered with Books for Africa, a global nonprofit, to receive nearly 22,000 books. She and her sisters then began renovating their home into a functional library. After several years of hard work, Read Across Africa opened in 2015.
Jean has mostly funded the library herself. She returns to Kenya four times a year to manage and check in on the library and its nine staff members.
Read Across Africa is open six days a week and is available to the entire community. It offers after-school programs to improve literacy, encourage imagination and make a positive impact in its students’ lives. The library has become an influential beacon in the community and hopes to keep growing positively to reimagine Africa.
“When a child learns to read, the whole family is positively impacted,” said Jean. “The ripple effect is amazing, and now it’s a place where adults come to read the newspaper. We have child care for younger children and programs to teach children to read. People can connect and get away from their everyday lives.”
To help Jean and Read Across Africa, please visit readacrossafrica.org.