Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Marley Dias set to hand out 1000 books in St Mary

Published:Saturday | February 13, 2016 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell
Marley Dias

Marley Dias set to hand out 1000 books in St Mary

Today, the GrassROOTS Community Foundation (GCF), a public health and social action organisation based in West Orange, New Jersey, will distribute 1000 books with black girls as the main characters. The GCF will also host a literacy festival in the parish of St Mary, Jamaica.

The literacy festival will be spearheaded by 11-year-old, GCF member, Marley Dias, and will be hosted at Retreat Primary School in the parish. In addition to the distribution of the books, attendees will be treated to various giveaways among other attractions.

Marley Dias told The Gleaner, that she decided to kick start the initiative because she felt women of African descent were under-represented in children's books. The youngster says she wants to promote content that coincides more with the culture of girls of African descent, so as to spread self love.

"My parents have taught me the value of reading and self-love through books that have characters who look like me and talk like me. I want to make sure other black girls around the world can see and love themselves, too, through these books," said Dias.

The GrassROOTS Community Foundation has existed since 2011 and has executed several developmental programmes including camps for black girls, as well as summer schools for elementary- and middle-school girls of African ancestry.

Summer schools associated with the GrassROOTS Community Foundation are usually aimed at facilitating leadership qualities, confidence building, teaching mathematics, science, African history and African-American history.

The camps are usually rooted in mentor-ship and are known to feature presentations from successful women of African descent specialising in fields like finance, the arts, science and technology. The GCF also promotes community service activities.

The book distribution project has also benefited from collaborations with Grammy-nominated R&B duo Kindred the Family Soul and Scholastic Books.