HPU Amnesty International Club’s
former President Veronica Andersson had an idea: collect textbooks
and donate them to a school in South Africa. The club put the
idea into action, collecting textbooks from HPU’s College
of Communication and the College of Liberal Arts.
Through the fall 2006 semester and the following spring 2007
semester, the books continued to pile up. A booth was even set
up on Fort Street Mall in the beginning of spring 2007 so that
students could donate books as well, according to current club
President Saleh Azizi.
But, at the end of the spring semester, when 16 boxes of textbooks
were collected, the club didn’t have the funds to send
the books to the South African school. Then the club lost contact
with the school.
They (the school) stopped responding to e-mails,” explained
Azizi, who became the club president this past September.
Azizi did a little networking. He had talked with Dr. John
Fleckles, senior vice president of Academic Affairs, about
to different Polynesian islands, so he asked for suggestions
about where to send the books.
Fleckles remembered newspaper articles about the Friends of the
Library sending books to Tonga that were left over from their
summer book sale.
When Saleh said [he] had books,” Fleckles said, it was
just “a question of finding a contact in Tonga.”
Fleckles referred Azizi to graduate student Wesley Fine (pronounced
fee-nay), who gave him Mataele’s name and number. With
a few phone calls, the textbooks had a Pacific destination: the
island nation of Tonga. On Oct. 3, through the support of Tonga’s
Regional Director of Tourism, Joseph Mataele, and with the
addition of seven boxes from the College of Business Administration,
and club Vice President Joshua King delivered 23 boxes, about
575 books for libraries in Tonga.
Every single college has been here with books,” said Azizi. “It’s
been a collaborative effort.”
According to Mataele, the majority of the books will be given
to libraries in remote villages on the island. These libraries
will become educational centers that will include book and computer
sections. Both children and adults can read and learn at these
Mataele described how the inspiration for the project stemmed
from how he grew up in Tonga, where there were “practically
no books,” and he “learned through writing notes.” He
believes that “education is a key factor to fighting poverty
and illiteracy,” and he said he plans to continue collecting
books for Tonga and possibly for other islands in the future.
Azizi said the club would like to send more books to Tonga: “If
they need more books, we will send them.”
Fleckles added that it was a “great outcome. It was good
for the club to reach out, meet people, meet needs.” He
also gave this advice: “Opportunities are out there, but
you have to knock. When you’re stuck, ask around, and you’ll
find people willing to help.”
Mataele added, “The people of Tonga say ‘thank you
|For more information about donations, call Saleh Azizi
Donations of books, as well as computers, are still
being accepted for libraries in Tonga.
Call Joseph Mataele at 808-723-9593.