When Samantha Boateng’s mother returned from a trip to Ghana, she told her daughter about the number of children who had little to no access to books or a library. Boateng was heartbroken.
“I love reading so much, so I decided to collect a few books to send over,” said Boateng.
The thought of all of those children not having the ability to read books inspired the William & Mary freshman to start Read 2 Lead, an organization created to promote a love of reading. Through Read 2 Lead, Boateng provides access to books and resources for children in her parents’ home country of Ghana.
Boateng began collecting books for the children her junior year in high school. By the time she graduated, Boateng had collected more than 14,000 books and 22 computers and raised around $15,000 with the help of her classmates and community.
What started out as collecting a few books turned into an idea to build a library in Accra, Ghana, from the ground up.
Boateng, along with her family and a few students and teachers from her community, took the books they collected with them to Ghana and began building the library. A local government school donated the land, which sits on the school’s property, but it is open to more than 20,000 students and members of the community.
According to Boateng, she is just getting started. She plans to get involved with W&M’s Office of Community Engagement and invite her classmates to travel with her to Ghana for Read 2 Lead, and hopes to open another library in her parents’ hometown of Kumasi.
“Traveling to Ghana really opened my eyes,” she said. “After being there, I know that in the future I want to help people somehow, any way I can.”
Because of her efforts in Ghana, Boateng was chosen out of 1,000 applicants as one of the “22 Under 22 Most Inspiring College Women” by the online publication Her Campus.
Boateng has opened the door for thousands of Ghanaian people to have access to resources that they never would have had if she hadn’t been inspired to start Read 2 Lead.
Visit William & Mary’s Office of Community Engagement to learn how you can start your own journey of adventure and service.