Thousands of much needed textbooks have been delivered to secondary schools across Tanzania thanks to students from Warwick University.
These “book runs” are organised by the READ Book Project Warwick, which in turn is part of READ International.
The charity was founded in 2003 after a group of students travelled to Tanzania during a gap year. The lack of resources shocked the students, who resolved to take immediate action by contacting local schools and collecting books.
Schools in Tanzania follow a school syllabus that is similar to that of the UK, however they are one of the poorest nations in the world and are unable to afford adequate resources.
Rose Blackie, project co-ordinator of READ International explains: “At the time of the start of the book project the Tanzanian government spent just £70 per year on each student, in the UK it is £6000.”
“Our low cost model means it never costs us more than 50p to deliver a book to Tanzania. Buying these books in the country would cost £11 per book.”
Although the schools in Tanzania benefit directly from READ Internationals’ activities, the schools donating the books also benefit from being involved in these projects.
“Recycling or dumping large numbers of old books is expensive,” says Blackie, “So we pick their books for no cost, and in giving their books away they’re also being environmentally friendly!”
“We also raise awareness of global issues, so the pupils in the UK really get a lot out of the project.”
Since READ’s inception, over twenty universities including Warwick now participate in this project.
“Warwick have been involved with READ for over two years now, and they’ve been really successful” says Blackie. “This year they raised over £8000 and collected 22,800 books as well as sports and stationary equipment. We really hope they continue the good work!”