Help me ship books to Zimbabwe

Friends,

I am a professor at one of the public universities in NJ, and I was born and raised in Zimbabwe. I am very passionate about issues related to access to education and sustainability in rural Zimbabwe. As an educator, I have access to a lot of unwanted, but useful, books (hundreds at a time). I am focusing on Math, English, Science, Accounting, History, Social Studies and Literature. A few years ago I organized a book drive and collected more than 10,000 books, shipped then to Zimbabwe at a high cost (>$4,000)  and ran into major problems transporting and getting them to the right people.

Because of that experience, I have hit the reset button. During a visit to Zimbabwe last month I met with a few people who would be able to help with shipment once it gets to Zimbabwe (and I plan on going there when the next shipment goes). Because of the time commitments involved (and just so I do not burn out after the next container) I would like to use more professionals this time around.

For starters, I would like to rent storage space as I collect these books (instead of using my garage like last time), I will work with student groups to help pack the container when we are ready for shipping, I will use a more reliable shipping company to ship the 40 foot container (36,000 books) from Philadelphia to Durban (South Africa) and a reliable company from Durban to Harare (Zimbabwe). Instead of paying brokers in Harare I will just fly out there when the container gets there and I will make sure these books reach the most deserving people (I pay for my own arfare). Two registered nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Gaia Environmental Trust (GET) and Farmers Association of Community Self-Help Investment Group (FACHIG) will help us distribute the books.

All this requires money. My initial calculations are that the storage alone for a period of a few months will be several hundred dollars. Transportation of books from donors (usually schools in the NE region) also runs in the hundreds of dollars. I often engage one person and have the books in a central location, then rent a truck to go collect them. My students and I do all this at no cost to the project, including fuel. 

The shipping costs for each container are about $6,000 (from Hammonton, NJ) to Harare, Zimbabwe.

Here’s where I need your help. I live in a community of generous people (they donate thousands of books). The possibilities are endless in terms of the number of containers and the number of schools we can help. However, we need money to make all this happen. Will you be so kind to help with all these costs?  

 

Sincerely,

Tait Chirenje

BTW, if you are in the DE, PA, NY and CT area and would like to donate books please let me know.
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Organizer

Tait Chirenje 
Organizer
Hammonton, NJ