Conway Springs teen creates library, sends it to Africa

Conway Springs teen Aubrey Doffing poses for a photo with some of the 1,000 books she gathered and sent to a village in Ghana.

By Michelle Leidy-Franklin

Conway Springs teen Aubrey Doffing has reached her goal of collecting 1,000 books to send to Africa to open a library in Ghana.

“I really like to read. There is a lot of illiteracy in Africa, and I didn’t want anyone out there not being able to read. I can’t imagine growing up without any books,” said Doffing.

Through the African Library Project (ALP), volunteers in the United States can gather 1,000 books and raise $500 for shipping to create a small library for African children. ALP coordinates with African schools and villages to make these libraries possible.

After Doffing spoke with her aunt, Chris Bradshaw, about what Bradshaw had seen in terms of poverty and lack of education while traveling in Africa, Doffing knew she wanted to help.

“Literacy is a great way to overcome poverty,” said Doffing.

Doffing cooked and sold 50 dozen cinnamon rolls in order to raise $500 to ship the books.

In August of 2017, Doffing began efforts to collect gently used books and raise the $500 necessary to ship the books to Africa. She posted a request for donations on community sale sites on Facebook. She approached folks having garage sales. Teachers from local schools donated as well, and in general, Doffing found that people wanted to help.

Doffing sold 50 dozen cinnamon rolls using her grandmother’s recipe to raise the cash for shipping. She was able to make three batches of about 20 dozen rolls each. She spent a full day each time making the rolls and baking. Her mother, Melissa, helped with deliveries.

“I don’t think I’ll ever forget how to make cinnamon rolls,” said Doffing.

Within eight months, Doffing had gathered 1,000 books. On April 20, Doffing shipped the donated books to New Orleans to join with a larger shipment of other libraries to be sent to Africa. Doffing received notice that the books had arrived in Africa and were being unpacked and arranged for setting up the library.

“We often don’t see how unfortunate they are over there, and how fortunate we are here,” said Doffing.

Doffing plans to do more in the future. She would like to wait until after college to put another library together, but she certainly plans to participate again.

“It was a great experience,” said Doffing.