Friday, November 28, 2008

Twenty Tons of Textbooks!

A project organized by two University of Indianapolis students has collected nearly 900 boxes - about 20 tons - of textbooks for use by impoverished students in West Africa, reports UIndy's news bureau.

The book drive is the latest venture by senior Lydia Fischer and junior Lyndsay McBride (pictured), whose interest in African education began with a 2007 UIndy service trip to build a schoolhouse in rural Liberia.

Inspired upon their return, they launched their own aid group, Inches International, to further support education in Africa. The two students designed and marketed colorful aluminum bracelets at $5 each, selling more than 3,000 so far to generate scholarship funds for students in war-torn Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Like the bracelet revenue, the books are being delivered through Operation Classroom, a not-for-profit organization that supports United Methodist-affiliated schools and healthcare efforts in Africa.

Fischer, McBride and other volunteers inside and outside the university had been collecting, sorting and boxing used textbooks for about a year, storing them in a vacant building near the UIndy campus. On 21 November, the volunteers loaded the books into a semitrailer for delivery to an Operation Classroom warehouse in Lapel.

Now the Inches International volunteers are trying to raise the $12,000 necessary to ship a 40-foot container of books to West Africa. Email 'em to donate!

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