Warwick students have been overwhelmed by the response to an appeal for second hand text books to help stock a struggling university library in Africa. The Malawi Book Drive was initially set up to collect 2,000 books for the University of Malawi but so far it has exceeded expectations by amassing approximately 5,100 academic texts.
The leader of the book drive project is Computer Sciences student Roopal Kanabar. She left her home in Malawi two and a half years ago to study at Warwick and she has been stunned by the difference in educational resources.
"Before I came to Warwick, I had to do some pre-reading for my degree. I went to the University of Malawi to see if they had any books that were on my reading list. When I went in there I was shocked at the state of the library, they hardly had any books."
Roopal recruited a number of students to the cause and on Saturday 24th February, 20 volunteers helped to sort the books and prepare them for shipping.
"A lot of the books we collected fit the genre, ‘education’. These are books to train up teachers to teach in primary schools. Hopefully the books that we are sending across will educate university students whose future career may lie in teaching, and they can further improve primary education in Malawi, which will hopefully conclude with the quality of education overall in our country being higher."
Encouraged by its success, the team is now considering projects between other developing countries and universities in the UK. The next targets are Sri Lanka and Kenya, although the students are still deciding which UK universities to try and collect resources from and investigating issues that may have to be tackled in these countries.
However, there is still a little way to go with the current project and more help is required to fund the transportation of the books. Some businesses with connections to Malawi have been generous to the project. The Savjani family, who has a transportation company in Malawi, are helping with handling and shipping and a friend of Roopal’s family, Nandini Patel, has offered to take some time out and set up a team in Malawi to ensure all the books are channelled down the correct route.
Anyone who would like to offer assistance to the project can contact Roopal at firstname.lastname@example.org.