African Great Lakes 

Volunteer Pascal Spronk Shares His Experience at the Children’s Peace Library in Kigali, Rwanda

My name is Pascal Spronk, USA Citizen, and I volunteered for the Transformational Leadership Center as a libraries assistant for about a year. For my role I mainly worked at the children’s peace library in Kicukiro, Kigali. I would open the library and sign out book to kids, as well as help with keeping the books in order, participate and help in trainings and other tasks at the library. Occasionally, the libraries coordinator would visit the other TLC libraries and I would also accompany her on those visits to see the other locations and speak with the children.

Often, on these visits I was asked to tell the children my own story, so that they could hear how important it is to read. I would tell them about myself growing up and going to school, how I loved to read as a child and how that helped me so much as I moved on in life and pursued my education. I have something similar to say to anyone who’s considering volunteering at the libraries for the Transformational Leadership Center: not specifically about the value of reading, but about how I would recommend taking the chance to work with the children’s peace libraries.

Working at the libraries was a great opportunity. It’s important to spend time volunteering for projects that you believe are important, and your presence at the libraries will greatly help the organization. The Transformational Leadership Center is a small organization, or at least its libraries program is a small one, and one dedicated volunteer can go a long way to help. Whether it’s in Kigali or in a different library somewhere else in Rwanda, the libraries greatly appreciate the work that is accomplished by their volunteers.

As a volunteer, not only will you be able to work with books and with children—both great opportunities—but you’ll also be working with other Transformational Leadership Center staff, who are all incredibly friendly and good to work with. I was able to work alongside the libraries director in Kigali, and we got along very well. I loved working with her and the others who worked for the libraries and the Transformational Leadership Center; having such great colleagues really made volunteering pleasant, and I was sad when my term ended.

For me, volunteering with TLC and the libraries was a wonderful experience: I got to help with books and children, two of my passions; and I knew what I was doing was greatly appreciated; and finally my colleagues became my close friends. I would come back to do it all again in a heartbeat, so I highly recommend volunteering for the libraries. I’m sure if you choose to do it you will find it just as enjoyable and profitable as I did.