Farley (far right) with the Golden Baobab team and Ghanaian illustrator Meshack Asare (center).
Promoting Children’s Literature in Africa
History major Helen Farley ’14 got a unique opportunity this summer to explore her dual interests in art and children’s literature this summer. Through Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, Farley worked as a communications intern with Golden Baobab, a social enterprise in Accra, Ghana, focused on discovering and inspiring writers of children’s stories in Africa.
Launched by Ghanaian Deborah Ahenkorah and Senegalese-born Rama Shagaya in 2008, Golden Baobab awards an annual literary prize to writers of the best stories for children in Africa in an effort to develop the African children’s literature industry. The organization “challenges the artistic communities of Africa to translate their culture in creative ways,” says Farley. “Golden Baobab hopes that in the next 10 years you will be able to find excellent books for children and young people in bookstores throughout Africa and the rest of the world.”
One of Farley’s most memorable experiences with the organization was helping to host an eight-day children’s illustration workshop that brought nine artists together with renowned Ghanaian illustrator Meshack Asare to illustrate a Golden Baobab Prize-winning story. “We held a networking event to exhibit their work at the end of the workshop, and it was great to see people appreciating these artists and discussing the importance of establishing connections within the African children's literature industry,” says Farley.
One thing she’s learned during the internship, she says, is “how to become street smart and resourceful. In Accra, making things happen is all about using your connections and not being afraid of anything.”