African Library Project

Joelina and Kwaku's Book Drive

04/05/2011 to 06/01/2011
Milpitas CA

We are working with the African Library Project to provide books to eager readers in Africa who have very few books. Please help us by collecting and delivering gently used books or by raising money to help pay for shipping to Africa. It takes only 1000 books and $500 (plus a little elbow grease!) to start a single library and make a huge difference in children’s lives.

This book drive is organized by ...

Hi, My name is Joelina. I am a student getting my Masters in Nonprofit Management and my partner is called Kwaku, MBA. We are both from Ghana and were privileged to meet Chris at our 54th Independence Day Dinner where she made a presentation about the African Library Project. We were immediately touched and committed ourselves to start a book drive ( I think I scared her a little with my enthusiasm. lol) for this project. Literacy has always been a big issue in Ghana and a passion of mine and so having this opportunity to serve in this capacity was heaven sent (as I told her. lol ). We are pretty excited and know it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to contribute in our own small manner to the development of the country. Kwegyir Aggrey, a famous Ghanaian Educationist once said "of University education, he said it should combine the best of east with the best of the west - the best of Africa with the best of Europe, Asia and America. "It should encourage original thinking, encourage research, help
to add to human knowledge....we of West Africa have proved that we can get
the classics, theology and philosophy. We are past masters in jurisprudence
and dialectics. The question is, can we turn such knowledge more and more
into the service of the common weal? Can we give back with interest what we have received? I believe, we can."(Dr. I. S. Ephson - Gallery of Gold Coast Celebrities"). For us, we know we have received generously from our parents, our teachers and our forebearers and now it is time to give back. For us, this is a call to duty, and we are honoured to be in service!

Our website link:

We want to start a library in Africa because...

First of all, we want to start a library because we, as young Ghanaians, blessed to have been given the opportunity to have access to not only wonderful libraries but a great education, see this as part of fulfilling our social responsibility to our younger brothers and sisters. What better way could we share the joys we experienced as children - of hiding in our secret corners and losing ourselves in a whole new world or of having our curiosities awakened and the birth of the new yearnings to discover and learn new things - than to make these books accessible to them? For me, this is not just a book drive, this is a way to share our love and passion for books. As a child, I remember sharing books with my friends. We would make reservations, put our names on a long waiting list and pass the book around the classroom until everyone had his/her turn. I know how it feel like not to have something new to read, I know the feeling of re-reading a beloved book over and over again till the pages wore out or re-rereading the same book just because there was nothing else to read. But I also have fond memories of getting so engrossed in a book I stayed up all night just to finish it and then excitedly sharing the story with my best friend the next day at school. Those are the kinds of feelings I want my young brothers and sisters to feel. To ask with curiosity, "what is a marshmallow? " And then, hopefully, taste it years later and say,"Ah ha, so that's a marshmallow. Sweet!" I want them to dream of snow and one day, make snow angels and feel the soft flakes on their face. Reading made me yearn to be more, to become more and hopefully that is what these books that we will be sending them will make them feel.

About our African Partners...

Our partner is Bamiri L/A Primary School. This school is located a few kilometers from Techiman, which is a town in the Brong Ahafo Region in Ghana. It is a farming community and this school serves all the other surrounding villages as well. Techiman is a historical town. It is located on an ancient trade route (it is also an archaeological site) and is still one of the principal trading towns in Ghana. Although Bamiri may be a smaller town but it is still one the bigger towns for miles thus its attracton to the youth who usually hang out there after school and on weekends. Being a farming community, fun or educational activities (after-school and weekend youth developmental programmes) are scarce or virtually nonexistent. This is why they have sent out an urgent appeal for the creation of a community library - to enable them have access to resources in doing their homework, to further develop their reading and learning skills and have a "cool" place to hang out and pass the time.

Please contribute these kinds of books...

We would appreciate books from pre-school to 8th grade (high school) reading level. They can be Maths, English, Science, Agricultural, etc textbooks. Novels, puzzles, colouring books, educational games are also welcomed.

Here's how you can contribute your books...

I will be glad to pick up all book donations from now till May 31st. Please contact Joelina on (408)449-3608 for more information.

We need to raise funds for shipping the books...

Please make all donation to this Book Drive on the African Library Project website specifying Joelina and Kwaku's Book Drive.

Here are some ways that you can help...

No help or contribution is too small. Please donate your gently used BOOKS that are gathering dust and cobwebs in your garage or attic. Pass on the word to your friends and family. Half-Priced Books, Fremont (and other locations) sell books by the boxes for about $5.00 for a box, (I found some incredible books there!) How about you get us a few boxes to help us meet our goals ;)? And last but not the least, we appreciate whatever else or however else you might want to help us with.

Contact us to find out more

Name: Joelina Butias Organizer
Phone: (408) 449-3608

Name: Kwaku Yeboah-Kankam Assistant organizer
Phone: (540)847-4410

Name: Tony Verducci Assistant organizer
Phone: (650)6690519

Progress Report

Our Goal 1,000 books $500.00 fundraising
Results so far
(updated: 06-01-11)
1,200 books $0.00 fundraising

Over 1,300 books collected and ready to go! Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this a success!
Thank u, Tony for once again lending me ur strong muscles and your truck! It is officially Joelina, Kwaku and Tony's Book Drive! U r the best!

Reading.... inspiring our hearts, feeding our minds and daring us to dream and hope for a better future.
"If you educate a man you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation." [Kwegyir Aggrey(1875-1927)- excerpted from "Gallery of Gold Coast Celebrities"]

NEWSFLASH: May 16, 2011
The importance of our cause cannot be underlined enough. This news is indeed troubling.

"64% of school pupils cannot read and write- GES" ( Ghana Education Services)

Log on for the full story at:


Special Thanks to:
1. My Aunt, Elizabeth Bryant, for providing me with a place to store my books and donating some books.
2. Tony, for being such a sweetheart and driving me all over the place and lending us his strong muscles to haul boxes books. What would I do without you?
3. Mr Alfred kennedy, Sr. for being such a major supporter and encourager and introducing me to Half Price Books as well as getting me boxes of books from them. Thanks, Uncle!
4. Heather, you were amazing in your warm support and immediate response to this Book Drive and gave out such wonderful books. Thank you very much.
5. Jim and MaryAnn - amazing neighbors and friends, never too old to get on a ladder to bring down some books :). Thank you
6. The Children's Book Project, San Francisco, CA. Thank You so much, Kathy!
7. The East Bay Children's Book Project, Oakland, Ca. Thank you so much!
8.Special thanks to Half-Priced Books, Berkeley. Thanks to the wonderful lady (Cherisse) and gentleman (Jack?) who so graciously help me.
9. Carolyn Phinney - Thank u for your generous offer of your classics. Great books!

Tips for Other Book Drive Organizers

Spread the word about your book drive as much as you can. Don't get discouraged if it's not as easy as you thought it might be. Just keep pushing, it will all fall together eventually :).

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About the African Library Project

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