Stevenage charity’s appeal for help with library project for deprived Kenyan community

PUBLISHED: 14:50 21 June 2017

Lenka McAlinden, founder of Just Be A Child

Lenka McAlinden, founder of Just Be A Child


A charity which collects thousands of books and transforms shipping containers into libraries for deprived African communities is appealing for help with its latest project.

Just Be A Child is a charity set up by Stevenage resident Lenka McAlinden in 2013 following a trip to Kenya and aims to support children living in the country through various projects, including building playgrounds and libraries.

The charity has so far established two libraries - in Dzunga and in Chidzangoni - and they have proved very popular with the locals.

Work is currently underway to pack books in boxes for this year’s library project, with nearly 16,000 books ready to go.

Volunteers are being sought to help between 10am and 1pm on Saturday, July 1, at removals and storage company Dollimore and Christie, on Stevenage Road in Ashbrook - which is between Stevenage and Hitchin.

Lenka said: “Everyone is welcome and you can stay for as long or as short a time as you like.

“The work is relatively low impact - putting books in boxes and sorting out toys into different categories - as we have some strong volunteers to do the heavy lifting.

“Bring some food, drink and sun cream.”

Lenka added: “Our next year’s library should, if all goes well, leave the UK in June/July 2018 and should arrive in Mombasa 30 days later.

“We will transport the container to our location and the conversion will commence.

“If you are planning a holiday between July and August 2018 and would like to combine some relaxing time with lending us a hand, please let us know and we will help you organise a holiday of a lifetime on the wonderful South Kenyan coast.”

JBAC always needs books, toys, jigsaw puzzles and arts material. You can take them to Dollimore and Christie between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, or you can call Lenka on 07737 500501.

If you are volunteering to help with the packing on July 1, call Lenka’s mobile number (above) when you arrive.

For more information about the charity, visit or search for ‘Just Be A Child’ on Facebook.

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