A ROTARY club is calling on the community to help them collect 100,000 books to send to children in Kenya.

Darlington Rotary has set the target as part of an overseas library project with the national charity Just Be a Child.

Together, they are collecting as many children's books as possible to fill a ‘container library’ and learning centre in Kenya.

Rotarian Peter Phillips, who is spearheading the campaign in Darlington, said: "We need to reach everyone who might have children’s books they can donate - schools, bookshops, libraries, families.

"Everyone has a book they no longer need so that’s 100,000 in Darlington to start with."

Mr Phillips added that it doesn’t matter how simple the books are.

Although English is the national language of Kenya, a child first learns its tribal language, Swahili, then English in school.

The Just Be a Child charity is based in Stevenage and they work by selecting a community in Kenya which fulfils their criteria, then establishing an area in which learning activities and sports days can be held.

This is followed up by a library, which comes in a container and is converted on the spot.

It contains books, learning and arts and crafts materials.

Training is given so that the community can take responsibility for the library and learning centre and regular visits are made by the charity to ensure it continues to operate smoothly.

Mr Phillips said: "The charity raises funds and finds sponsorship for school supplies and learning material.

"The second-hand books are packed in boxes in a 40ft shipping container.

"This container is shipped to Kenya, cleared and transported to the village.

"There it is unloaded, windows are cut out of the sides of the container, a door put in at the end and shelves fitted inside.

"I’ve seen such an operation in a village - it soon becomes a fantastic central meeting point."

Darlington Rotary is receiving help from S G Petch car dealership in Darlington who have donated space at their premises at McMullen Road to house the books.

Mr Phillips will then arrange transportation of the books to Stevenage where they are sorted and classified.

Craig Saunders, general manager at S G Petch said they were very happy to support the project.

He said: "It is an excellent idea and we are pleased to be part of it by giving storage space.

"People can drop books off at any time during business hours by going to the Hyundai main reception."

Mr Phillips added: "We’re very grateful to S G Petch.

"People can drop books in there or contact us through Twitter @DarlRotary or the Darlington Rotary Facebook page and we can arrange collection.’

Mr Phillips can also be contacted at peter@neashamabbey.co.uk for further information or to arrange a collection.

The Just be a Child charity has libraries, in Dzunga, Chidzangoni and Malalani and their direct school donations provide books and learning material to 71 schools.

The libraries also invite nearby schools to use the facilities for lessons.