St. Joseph’s Primary School in Leauva’a was presented its first “chicken coop” library by 12-year-old Epifania Tusani from Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.
The chicken coop mini library was inspired by her father, Tuala Tusani’s childhood stories of growing up in Samoa.
The idea was born out of a memory her father retold her often about his after school chores, which included feeding the chickens.
The young entrepreneur and philanthropist wanted to give back to the schoolchildren in her father’s village by encouraging them to read.
While the “chicken coop’ library doesn’t have chickens, it would instead contain nuggets of knowledge.
Epi raised the money to build the chicken coop and her father secured the sponsorship of the books through Frankie’s Supermarket, Big Bear and the Orator Hotel to start off the first mini library.
The Principal of St Joseph’s Primary, Sr. Lavalea Lelenimo told the Samoa Observer that such an initiative is very welcomed at their school, especially during a time when there is no school library.
“At the moment you can see we only have the phase one of the new parts of the building. In two years’ time we are aiming to build a computer and science lab as well as a library. We have no library so we are going to take Epi’s chicken library and utilise it to strengthen our children’s reading skills.”
Sr. Lavalea said these types of projects not only serve a practical purpose but that the initiative of a young person to provide opportunities for their peers can only inspire other children to do the same.
“This is a simple project but behind it there’s a story and then there are a whole lot of benefits to the students at the same time. At St Joseph’s, we always believe in opportunities for the young people and opportunities for the students – no matter how big or small the project, we believe that it will inspire and benefit the kids."
“The challenge for us now as a school community is how can we take Epi’s chicken library concept and build on it to create an even bigger movement that will benefit more children.”
The small library has big plans in the works and Epi’s father, Tuala, told the Samoa Observer that several schools have contacted him to express their interest of having a chicken coop library for their students.
Together with sponsors Frankie’s Supermarket, Fero, Big Bear and Orator Hotel, the concept of the Epi’s chicken coop library may take on a life of its own.
Epifania’s philanthropic initiatives began at age eight when she raised money to buy a water tank for St. Joseph’s Primary School by making cupcakes and selling them.
Last year she raised money to provide 150 students at Savaia Primary School in Lefaga with jandals.