My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for African Library Project, Berkeley, CA, USA
I signed up for my first library through the African Library Project over a year ago, with the shipment date last May 15. Just today I delivered my 8th African library to the post office to begin its journey to Malawi. This organization is completely run by volunteers on the US, so there's no money going into someone's pocket somewhere. Impressively, ALP partners with NGOs in the destination countries to ensure that the books shipped actually become functioning libraries.
I had to stop working due to health reasons, and collecting, cleaning, sorting, packing and shipping books for the libraries can be done when and how I am able: I get to volunteer in a meaningful way without having to go to meetings, deal with politics, or be expected to show up on a regular basis. The organization-level volunteers take care of all the nitty-gritty organizational things so I get to focus solely on assembling and sending libraries to schools and communities who have few to no books. What an honor and pleasure!
Since I'm an individual contributor, I buy the majority of the books I send, although I do accept (and receive) donations from friends, relatives and sometimes from strangers. Something that feels good to me is that the books I buy mostly come from organizations I am happy to support: our local public library, hospice and free clinic; ARC, United Cerebral Palsy, the American Cancer Society, and a local charity thrift shop that helps support the battered women's shelter and other worthy causes. So my purchases are win-win, helping my local community and helping to transform communities in several African countries (Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho and Ghana so far, for me).
As a lifelong reader and book lover who wants to do something meaningful, it doesn't get much better than this!
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Set up a system for library donors to be informed when their libraries reach their final destination. Otherwise, no changes. The organization is wonderful, giving help where needed, allowing as much choice as possible, and staying in the background otherwise. I love working through the African Library Project.
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