Teachers and students begged for more books, and just wanted to spend more time reading. It didn't matter how old they were or how young the book was, they wanted to read it. I immediately learned how great the need is for these children to have access to good books.
There is certainly a huge gap in quality reading material here. In rural areas, books are almost impossible to find, and even more difficult to get to read and enjoy on your own. They may share some textbooks in school, but in general, reading for fun is not learned because the opportunity simply isn't there.
The teachers and ministry workers I spent time with begged for quality books. So I began the process of hunting down the best way to send them over.
Finally, we found the answer! We are partnering with "Books for Africa" to bring a 40' shipping container full of books from Atlanta, GA to our small town in western Kenya!
Books for Africa collects donated books from around the US and packs them in shipping containers and sends them where they are requested at only the cost of shipping. It's incredible, really!
We've joined together with several local ministries who all contributed a portion to shipping costs, so that they can split the container when it arrives, each for their children. They will split among them an astounding estimated 11,000 children's books!!
Among these groups we have:
--a community resource center and teen pregnancy program, who watch young children so teen moms can return to school, (who want toddler books too because they know that if the desire to learn is not nurtured when young, it can be so hard to encourage an older child to return to learning, which happens so often in the villages),
--over 15 in-school reading clubs that are dramatically changing girls across our region (and some boys),
--an organization that provides care and regular teaching and a safe after school/weekend environment for children affected by HIV,
--a group that rescues the desperate cases in a nearby slum through years of involved care in partnership with families,
--a well-run church Sunday School ministry with many children,
--a very involved ministry to children in prison, some there by their own actions, some there as "refuge" for someone else's.
--FOUR different private Christian schools in the rural villages,
--and a ministry that rescues street children and rehabilitates them to return home over time.
We want to be sure these ministries receive the BEST books for their amazing children. We are partnering together with Usborne Books & More to fill the container with as many of the incredibly high quality, durable, eye-catching, interactive, mesmerizing books we can possibly add. We will focus on sending books with black characters where possible, and story books that teach life lessons or vividly teach about our grander world.
FOUR WAYS TO HELP:
1. Please consider donating to help us send over these amazing books.
**All donations will be matched by Usborne Books & More to add 50% more in free books!!!**
(if you prefer paypal, you can send to [email redacted]).
2. You'd like books for your own family? Our family LOVES them!! Go ahead and shop this link. Whatever amount you spend will be matched 50% to donate towards our cause! (Text me at [phone redacted] for personalized recommendations for each age and personality).
3. Mail your high quality nice books to Books for Africa! This link will tell you exactly how. *Several groups are really hoping for Bible story books * for all ages of children, and if you send a box of Christian story books to Books for Africa and mark them "COPELAND", they can set them aside to pack in our container!
4. Share! We need all the help we can get!
While we are so thankful that Books for Africa will share their donated books with us at no extra cost, the books we really want that are brand new, that tell a child they are WORTH a brand new book, that fit with the lessons we are teaching and are hand selected... those books range in price from $5-25 per book. Please consider donating to this cause and asking others to do so as well.
The expanse of those who will be affected by this is immense, potentially even to future generations.
Our fundraiser will close by February 21st! That's not much time. Please don't set this aside to come back, but stop now to participate. We are forever grateful. Your gift absolutely changes lives.