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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Carrollwood News

Hillel students collect books for African school


Published:

TAMPA – Botswana, in southern Africa, is a place none of the students at Hillel Academy, a private Jewish community day school at 2020 West Fletcher Ave., has ever seen.

They don’t know the poverty or how much the children in Botswana want to know how to read – advantages that the students at Hillel may take for granted.

Except for one thing. The kids at Hillel aren’t taking it for granted. They learn at one of the most respected schools in all of Hillsborough County, but they heard about a school called the Grace Kgari Primary School in Botswana – and the problems the school faces – and decided to do something about it.

The Hillel children are trying to collect more than 1,000 books and raise $500 to start an elementary school library. Not only are the Hillel kids helping kids in a country half a world away, but they are also learning the importance of the books they have in their own school library.

“Reading is an important part of our life,” said Hillel fifth-grader Ben Rosenberg. “We use it all the time. If you can’t read, how do you succeed? All books teach you something and form a picture in your brain to help you learn something new.”

The African Library Project has used American volunteers to start more than 700 libraries in nine African countries over the past five years. It is an all-volunteer organization based in California that helps American schools start community libraries with African partners.

“We couldn’t do this without the dedication and creativity of book drive organizers,” said Chris Bradshaw, founder of the African Book Project.

The kids at Hillel will also be doing other things to help with the project. The youngest grades will make bookmarks, intermediate students will write letters to the kids in Africa, and middle school students will prepare a photo journal of their school.

“I feel so happy that we are going to donate these books to this school in Botswana so we can help these children have a better education,” Ben said.

To donate books for the African Library Project at the Hillel Academy, call (650) 851-3640.

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