Axum Children’s Library Enhancement

Championed by Dwight Sullivan (Yergalem, Dodola, 1970-72) and Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974-76)

axum-mapThis RPCV Legacy Program project, championed by Dwight Sullivan and Janet Lee, has joined in the efforts of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), founded by former Peace Corps language and cultural instructor, Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, in the building and development of the Axumite Heritage Foundation Library and Cultural Center in Axum, Ethiopia. This project is limited to supporting the development of  a children’s library.

In 2000, the ECDC renovated the former Governor’s Palace in Axum, and repurposed the building into a public library, which, to date, has served the community well. Now under construction is a new building that will complement the existing building by providing: additional seating, community space, communication technology, universal access for the disabled, and, of primary importance, a space for children.

Library with some early donations

Library with some early donations (click photo for larger view)

The Axum Children’s Library will provide:

  • A welcoming area for all children of the community to read books, participate in story hours, participate in arts & crafts, and view movies.
  • Child-sized furniture that is comfortable and suitable for a variety of activities.
  • Age-appropriate books in English and local languages as they become available.
  • Access to computers for older children for them to learn basic computer skills.
  • Shelving for the books and a desk for the library assistant.
  • Curtains for the windows that may be closed during video presentations.

Operational expenses for the Children’s Library will be covered by an existing library budget provided by the Axumite Heritage Foundation, including but not limited to salaries, utilities, programming, and marketing and promotion.

Dwight Sullivan is an engineer. Janet Lee is a librarian and editor of The Herald. A chance inquiry by Dwight to The Herald brought these two like-minded souls together to combine their talents on this project.

Dwight has traveled to Axum several times, each visit lasting several weeks, where he has been able to oversee aspects of the construction of the new library, consult with the architect, evaluate building materials, provide training, and search for tools. See articles here and here that Dwight has written for The Herald about the construction of the new library.

In 2010, Janet Lee was in Mekelle on sabbatical establishing children’s library services in an existing building contributed free of charge by the city of Mekelle. At the end of the sabbatical, Janet made it a point to visit the existing library building in the former Governor’s Palace in Axum, and keep in contact with Dr. Tsehaye. Upon her return to the U.S., she joined the Denver Sister Cities International, one of the organizations pairing being with Axum. In a follow up visit to Axum two years later, Janet was duly impressed with the initial progress of the new building project.

Dwight and Janet’s RPCV Legacy Program project has established an initial goal to raise $10,000 for the purchase of computers, shelving, furniture, books, area rugs, curtain, and audiovisual equipment for the Children’s Library.

To support the Axum Children’s Library . . .

. . . you can send a check to:

Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs
c/o Randy Marcus
1634 Martha Terrace
Rockville MD 20852-4134

Make out your check to “Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs,” and in the subject line enter “Axum Children’s Library.”   Include your email for tax receipt.

To donate online through “Just Give” click on the following button (a small processing charge will be included):  Donate Now


Ethiopia & Eritrea RPCVs, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization

100% of every donation goes to support
your specified RPCV Legacy Program project