Foundation opens library in Tanzania to educate way out of poverty

By Kim Boram

DAR ES SALAAM, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul-based foundation opened a small library in Tanzania on Wednesday as part of its ongoing efforts to educate people on how they can leave poverty behind.

Called TYSL, short for "Thank You Small Library," it aims to encourage and lead young children to build a better future for their country. It is the 140th of its kind across Africa and Asia, funded by the Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) Foundation, founded in 2004 under the U.N. World Tourism Organization.

The library, opened at Mzimuni Primary School, houses 1,000 books and dictionaries as well as personal computers. It is also open to local residents.

"On behalf of Tanzania, I appreciate South Korean work to build this small library," the country's first lady Salma Kikwete at the opening ceremony, adding that the library will serve as a knowledge bank for the students and the local population. "This library will give us way to change our country, as knowledge that we obtain from education will not disappear," she said.

Dho Young-shim, the chairperson of the ST-EP Foundation, emphasized the importance of education, citing South Korea's own experience in rising out of poverty from the ruins of the 1950-53 Korean War in just 50 years.

"Korea was much poorer 50 years ago than Tanzania is now. But we rose from the bottom by reading many books and studying hard," she said. "I hope these young students reading books here in the library embrace bigger dreams and become leaders of Tanzania."

The former South Korean legislator, said helping Africa out of poverty is not necessarily difficult or costly.

"What we do is give books to read and a computer to surf the Internet. Then, they know what is wrong and right, and what is going on and what to do. I think this is the fastest and cheapest way to help Africa end poverty," she said.

Dho thinks Korean people are the right ones to show them how to overcome poverty because Koreans have experienced and witnessed the process.

"Africa is full of hope. They are willing to be better off. We just show them the way, that's all," she said.

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