Our History

Golden Baobab was started by a teenage African girl with a voracious appetite for books, and a determination to succeed no matter the odds.

 

came-to-be

Deborah Ahenkorah grew up loving books! She was always found nose deep in her library books, and  world centered around the stories she devoured. Her favorite heroine was Nancy Drew. She dreamed of becoming a mystery detective just like her. But one day, a group of father’s friends asked her what she wanted to become when she grew up. Deborah replied in excitement:  “A mystery detective! Just like Nancy Drew!” But they laughed at her reply. She didn’t understand what was so funny! Her father gently explained to her that her dreams were based on Western culture and were unrealistic. Nancy Drew was not an African girl; her society was different from hers and nothing like her own life.

Though the beloved world Deborah had built in her mind as a child, was completely out of context in Accra, Ghana where she was growing up, she never stopped enjoying books. Several years later as a teenager, she attended Bryn Mawr College, in the United States. Her love for reading followed her and she formed a student organization to ship story books to libraries across Africa.

One day, while Deborah was preparing books to ship she came across one with a black character on the cover. It was the first book they were shipping that looked like the children who would receive them. As a child she did not have access to books that represented her, and nearly 10 years later the problem still persisted. She realized the issue stemmed from very few writers creating stories for children and was determined to address this problem in her own way. With the support of a wonderful mentor and her co-founder, Rama Shagaya, she started her second organization, Golden Baobab in 2008.