Wayne State University is a campus up in Michigan, and home to a Rotary Rotaract Club youth group. For those who do not know Rotary and Rotaract, in a short sentence, they are service organizations like Kiwanis, Lions, etc, that do a lot of great humanitarian service projects for their communities and internationally. Victor Helb is a young man from Liberia who was attending school at Wayne State when we met. He told me about a vision to help the people of his country learn to read and write, because more than 90% of the citizens were either illiterate, or well below elementary school reading ability. He wanted to change all that. One man wanting to change an entire country...what a concept!
Well, after we kicked some ideas around I left Michigan but reconnected with Victor on a few occasions over the next couple of years when he would call for advice. This year things are moving into action. Victor's aunt is the President of Liberia, and now, following years of civil unrest, Liberia has come under the wing of US help; doors are now open for programs like Victor's Liberian Book Project (see: http://www.liberianliteracyfoundation.org/news.html). Just having doors open would not be enough as such projects to provide millions of books, schools supplies, computers, teachers, and even electricity (most of the country is without a large enough electrical grid that the majority of the people do without). Also such grandiose projects require volunteers (lots of them), and much money.
Victor is now back with a request to put everything into motion, but has made the road smoother with years of working US college campus Rotaract Clubs to gain support. Most of what is needed now is to raising money and find a way to ship goods to Liberia on the cheap. As the volunteer Development Director working with the National Guard State Partnership Program, it is ironic that Michigan is the state partner of Liberia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Partnership_Program), home of this project, and perhaps we can use that mechanism to provide transportation when the time comes. As to fundraising, we just opened our new consultancy to assist non-profit service organizations develop fundraising programs. Victor's timing couldn't have been better to seek help. With their sights set on 2000 US college campuses the project is sure to gain momentum.
If others would like to help give us a call at (630) 440-7912 or simply click on to the Liberian Book Project website above. All are welcome