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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

December 1, 2013  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Kids collect 2,500 books to start libraries in Africa


L-R Hillel Academy first graders Hendrix Bromberg, Yael Huneycutt, Ellesheva Solomon and their teacher Helen Freid pack up some of the books for a library in Botswana. L-R Hillel Academy first graders Hendrix Bromberg, Yael Huneycutt, Ellesheva Solomon and their teacher Helen Freid pack up some of the books for a library in Botswana. The students at Hillel Academy in Tampa set out to collect 1,000 books plus $500 to create one primary school library in Africa, but the school far exceeded its goal and now will be starting two libraries.

When Chris Bradshaw, founder of the African Library Project, learned from a reporter that the students collected 2,500 books, she said she had some good news for the school. “I’ll have to call them and tell them they’re not just starting one library, but two.”

The children packed up the books Nov. 26 for shipment to the Grace Kgari Primary School in Botswana, but now Bradshaw says a second school will be selected to get a library as well.

Already, the African Library project, an all-volunteer organization in Portola Valley, CA., has provided more than a quarter of the primary schools in Botswana with libraries and has started 1,165 libraries in 10 African nations. Creating a library takes 1,000 “gently used” books and $500 for shipping, Bradshaw said.


Hillel Academy eighth graders helped pack boxes of books bound for a school in Botswana. From the left, the students in back are Anika Trotman, Jonah Gordon and Jake Orlick. In front are Bradley Weiss, Marielle Smith, Batia Friedman Shaw and Harrison Greenfield. Hillel Academy eighth graders helped pack boxes of books bound for a school in Botswana. From the left, the students in back are Anika Trotman, Jonah Gordon and Jake Orlick. In front are Bradley Weiss, Marielle Smith, Batia Friedman Shaw and Harrison Greenfield. She praised the Hillel students for their efforts and said, “They have been gung-ho from the start.”

The project is aimed at educating the Tampa students about the importance of literacy – something they take for granted.

“Books are aplenty here,” said Amy Wasser, head of school. “This project opened the eyes of our students to the needs of children far away, and how their efforts can make such an impact on a community.”

Ben Rosenberg, a Hillel Academy fifth grader, loves to read and understands the importance of reading. “We use it all the time. If you can’t read, how do you succeed? All books teach you something and form a picture in your brain to help you learn something new,” he said. “I feel so happy that we are going to donate books to this school in Botswana, so we can help these children have a better education.”

In addition to books, the students made small gifts to send to the children at the Grace Kgari School. The youngest grades made bookmarks; intermediate students wrote letters and the middle school students prepared a photo journal of Hillel Academy.

“The nicest part of the project was how much the kids wanted to give. It was not hard to collect the books from the children. Even the youngest ones went through their book collection to find books to give. The children were very excited,” Wasser said.

Given that the school has 207 students, the level of giving averaged out to a little more than 12 books per student. Wasser said she was pleased by the measure of student giving.

The African Library Project website is www.africanlibraryproject.org.


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