Watford woman sets up free black history books project for those unable to afford

Published
image copyrightMaja Education Project
image captionMaja Antoine-Onikoyi has given away books worth more than £4,000 since June

A woman has set up a charity to provide free books for people who want to learn more about black history and racism but cannot afford them.

Maja Antoine-Onikoyi, 20, from Watford, had the idea after several people told her they could not buy such resources.

Since the beginning of June, her project has given out books worth more than £4,000.

"It just feels like I'm actually making some sort of change which is really cool," she said.

"If you don't know what black people are going through you don't know how to help."

The death of George Floyd in the US in May sparked a raft of protests across the world, bringing the Black Lives Matters movement to the fore.

Ms Antoine-Onikoyi said that afterwards she had "quite a few people coming to me saying they couldn't afford resources, so I thought let me just send out three or four books".

"When I suggested doing that, people were responding to me asking if they could send me money to help me fund that and within three or four hours I had £800 of donations."

image copyrightMaja Antoine-Onikoyi
image captionMaja Antoine-Onikoyi hopes to extend her work into prisons and schools

While the project is currently only giving out books to individuals, Ms Antoine-Onikoyi eventually hopes to extend the work to schools and prisons.

She said it "just feels like I'm doing what's supposed to be done".

"It doesn't feel like a huge gain on my part, it feels like what our curriculum and our institutions should have been doing," she said.

Ms Antoine-Onikoyi said that having a book meant "being able to make notes and highlight things that stuck with you... that you apply to your daily life".

"If you don't know what black people have been through, our history, how much we've struggled and are struggling you'll find it really difficult to help.

"To do that you need to be educated on all these things and our experiences."

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