African Library Project

HTHS Creative Arts Club Lesotho Book Drive

07/01/2011 to 12/10/2011
Monmouth County NJ

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 ...

Melanie Chen and Andrea D\'Souza, co-presidents of our high school\'s Creative Arts Club, are looking to impact the world in a meaningful way through providing new reading material for African students in need.

72 million children do not have access to education. Half of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.

The lowest literacy rate is in sub-saharan Africa. 63%, or 296 million people, cannot read in this part of the world.

1 in 5 adults cannot read or write. 2 in 5 live in Africa.

If is 50% more likely that a child will live past age 5 if his or her mother is literate.

2012 ends the United Nation\'s Literacy Decade, but there is so much more work to do.

Our website link:

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

Why Melanie Chen wants to start a library in Africa:

All I want to say is encapsulated in this poem by Emily Dickinson:

THERE is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

But the first line of the second stanza is wrong. The poorest can take this traverse? Without oppress of toll? In a land where 296 million people do not have access to basic books, not everyone can benefit from books the way we do. I have books that have lain untouched on my shelf for years, and I have photos of African children who have never read a word. I see a clear, simple way to help fix a problem that has afflicted the African continent for generations. I need your help to reach my goal.

Why Andrea D\'Souza wants to start a library in Africa:

Now that college is just a year away, and my era of childhood is about to close, I have been doing a lot of reflecting upon my past. I have found that I associate many of my memories with the books I was reading at the time. I recall reading Inkheart in San Francisco, Things Fall Apart on my family trip to see the Lion King on Broadway, and Little Women backstage when I was the keyboardist for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Somehow, my memories just wouldn’t be complete without the novels that come along with them.

Books have always held a very dear place in my heart. Throughout my life, books have never failed to teach me when I am curious, comfort me when I\'m down, or transport me to another time and place when I want to escape. Gardner\'s Art through the Ages taught me about history\'s greatest artists this past spring break, Charlotte\'s Web gave me a friend when I traveled alone to India in the fourth grade, and Gone With the Wind whisked me to the late 19th century last summer between marathons of AP Chemistry. Without books, I probably would have gone crazy long ago.

Of course, I would not have been able to enjoy the majority of my reads without our local library. I did a short speech recently in Public Speaking class on how great libraries are. While preparing the speech, I realized how much I have taken for granted in my life. I also realized how infrequently I think about the people who don’t have as much as I do and how I can help them.

I don\'t want to live like that anymore. I didn\'t do anything to earn the right to read, so how is it fair that other children cannot? Who would I be today without the tales of the Baudelaire orphans, the little prince, or Holden Caulfied? I want to start a library in Africa to bring the magic of books that has shaped my childhood to children who normally wouldn\'t have that privilege. Hopefully, these children, too, will find friends in books and will develop life-long memories of reading as I have.

About our African Partners...

TBA - all we know now is that we are serving a secondary school in Lesotho, but the specific school is to be assigned later.

Please contribute these kinds of books...

Books at U.S 4th grade to 8th grade reading level
Beginner chapter books (Nancy Drew, Magic Treehouse, etc.)
Educational elementary books (books on dinosaurs, books on elementary science, etc.)
Books on African-American figures, culture, traditions, etc.

Please avoid:
Religious books
Books that contain lots of American slang
Books on American holidays/traditions/culture
Books with small text

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

To start raising money, we will be holding a restaurant night at Applebee\'s in Middletown, New Jersey. Just bring our flier to the restaurant on August 15th at any time from noon to midnight, and 10% of your bill will go to our cause. You can also order from Carside-To-Go and present our flier when you pick up your food.

Email for the flier. YOU MUST bring the flier to participate.

Here are some ways that you can help...

Donate any easy, beginner chapter books lying on your shelves!
Donate money!
Participate in Creative Arts Clubs fundraisers (For some fundraisers, payment can be in the form of books!)

Contact us to find out more

Name: Melanie Chen
Phone: 732-946-2324

Name: Andrea D\'Souza
Phone: 732-741-4660

Name: HTHS Creative Arts Club

Progress Report

Our Goal 1000 books $500 fundraising
Results so far
(updated: 9/11/2011)
1158 books $202 fundraising


Thank you to Randomhouse publishers for their donation of 25 young adult books!

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About the African Library Project

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