For years, that's been a reality for women and students living around Njau, Gambia.
(If you're not familiar with Njau, Gambia - and my extra special connection to many villages in Africa's smallest country - click here.)
Building a library there has been a dream of many Gambian women I work with, and it's also been dream of mine for years. And in February of 2012, it's likely to become a reality. You can't imagine how I feel.
I'm partnering with A Hand in Health, a Minneapolis-based organization, to assist them in the building of not just one, but seven, libraries in and around Njau. Three libraries will be in elementary schools, and two in middle/high schools. The final library will be at a women's resource center.
This post is both a celebration and a call for book donations. Currently, A Hand in Health along with Books for Africa has secured more than 20,000 children's books and several health and women's empowerment titles to send to the villages around Njau, Gambia. Megan Meyer, from Hand in Health, and Isatou Ceesay, Gambian project manager, hope we can more than double that before the container ships later this year. If all goes well, I'll be in The Gambia when the container arrives, ready to assist, inventory, shelf and tag these books! (If you're interested in traveling to Gambia with me in February to build libraries - email me).
Got a great children's book to donate to kids or women in Gambia, Africa?
Here's some info:
BOOK DONATIONS TO HAND IN HEALTH / NJAU GAMBIA LIBRARY PROJECT
You can also view this information at A Hand in Health's "Donate" tab - click here.
Drop Off or Mail-to Location:
Books For Africa Warehouse-St. Paul
715 Minnehaha Avenue East
St. Paul, MN 55106
The warehouse is located in the old Stroh’s Brewery complex that is just north of I-94, just east of downtown St. Paul. MAKE SURE ALL BOOKS ARE LABELED "HAND IN HEALTH" so they get on the right container.
•Wednesdays 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. at the St. Paul warehouse
•Mondays-Thursdays 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Atlanta warehouse
•The first and third Saturdays of every month from 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Book Donation Requirements:
If you mail books, please do not send boxes that weigh more than 50 pounds and do not include any packing materials such as newspaper, plastic wrap and peanuts.
*** Please print out a sign saying “Hand in Health” and tape to all boxes of books dropped off at or mailed to the warehouse.
***Please e-mail the project director at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of books donated so we can keep a running tally!
***Acceptable books are new or gently used and relevant to an African reader. Including:
Quality children’s picture books and easy-readers (in good condition)
15 years old or newer popular fiction and nonfiction reading books (soft/hard cover).
1995 or newer publish date elementary, secondary, and college textbooks (soft/hard cover).
1995 or newer reference books such as encyclopedias and dictionaries.
School/office supplies—paper, pencils, pens, wall charts, maps, etc.
Please do NOT send:
•Magazines or journals of any kind.
•Home decorating, wedding, or cookbooks.
•Ethnocentric books, such as the biography of Abraham Lincoln or the history of Ohio.
•Foreign language books except for French books. French novels/dictionaries are welcome.
•American history or civics.
•Music books for K–12.
ALL AUTHORS, SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES, ETC. WHO LET ME KNOW YOU'VE DONATED BOOKS WILL GET A PUBLIC "SHOUT-OUT" ON MY BLOG!! (so don't forget to contact me if you donate books - especially signed copies!)