National Textbook Drives 2016
In the months of August and September 2016, the Sai Young Adults conducted a National Textbook Drive in all regions as a Back to School service for students in need. This service project expanded beyond the young adults and included volunteers from Sathya Sai Centres across the country, with parents and friends bringing in old and gently used books for donation at their local Centre.
In Ontario Regions 1 and 2, over 400 textbooks were collected and donated to an organization called Textbooks for Change, a social venture that provides affordable, educational materials to students both locally and abroad. Every year Textbooks for Change sends thousands of books to African Universities in sponsored crates. The remaining books are catalogued and stored at the Textbooks for Change warehouse in London, Ontario, which are then sold online and shipped across the country. Of the proceeds from these sales, 50% are allocated to fund mentorship programs and microfinance loans for entrepreneurs across the developing world who could otherwise not afford such help. All 400+ books collected in Ontario were post-secondary, university and college level textbooks spanning numerous professional disciplines, all less than 10 years old and in usable condition.
Sathya Sai Centres in Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon collected 50, 80, and 100 books respectively, and donated them to local charities. Winnipeg’s collected books were delivered to Fire Stations across Winnipeg and will be donated to The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, a non-profit organization run by volunteers and sponsors, where the funds from the sale of the books will support child health care in the Province. In British Columbia, 37 books and novels were collected for the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. This initiative helped Sai Young Adults create awareness among people, especially kids, about the education needs of children and students by donating books and providing this gift of knowledge, as guided by Sai principles.
This national service project was inspired by the success of young adults in Ontario Region 1, who in June 2015 conducted a Regional Textbook Drive as part of their SAI90 monthly service projects. What began as a small project with the goal to collect 90 textbooks in honor of Swami’s 90th Birthday, the young adults of Region 1 went above and beyond and collected a total of 383 textbooks for donation in just two weeks. Months later, Textbooks for Change shared pictures on Facebook where Sai Young Adults were able to directly see their donations arrive in Africa and into the hands of grateful students there. This success inspired all regions to take up this initiative in unison in 2016.