In the last newsletter I wrote:
“Your donation has never been more important – Books for Lesotho needs over $12,000 before 30th June 2022 to breakeven for the financial year. Will you contribute?” Many of you did respond, and over $7,000 was donated. We are short $3,555 from reaching 2021/22 budget (and the budget does not include any recent rises in freight costs). You can help by donating before 30 June 2022.
I reported it is the sea freight costs (we have previously been amazed at how reasonable they have been) that have escalated by about 55%. The following email arrived from supporter Michele:
“yikes, freight costs have gone up significantly but I was expecting that, so I’m happy to pay for the pallet cost of $1,242 & have transferred the money now. Can you please send me a receipt, thanks. I have an online business (kids sunsmart clothing) which I source from overseas and I feel that increase in freight cost pain too! It’s from the profit of that business which I’ve funded the donations, so if you wanted to give a mention in the newsletter at any time that would be great, but also not necessary if it doesn’t fit. Lightweight cotton clothing to help keep little ones covered from the sun, but still cool & comfortable. You might recognise my children James & Felicity in the photos from when they were small! I’m actually reading a great novel at the moment ‘The Giver of Stars’ about depression era pack horse library in the mountains of Kentucky, and it reminds me every time I pick it up about the value books and reading can bring to a community.”
Michele gave B4L permission to use her words, so I have reproduced it in full, firstly to acknowledge her generosity (for two years running), her motivation, her observation about the value of reading, and finally, a hope that you might find and check out her company website: www.threesunpossums.com.au. Thank you, Michele, for your words, and $ donations.
And here is another initiative:
My exercise group at Mitcham has for years supported the B4L project by making small donations weekly which, over a year, has usually funded the shipping of one pallet. Cicely is a member of that group. Each year Cicely has opened her home garden on Australia Day to members of the group and partners for a BYO social event, with entry donations to a charity. You guessed it, Cicely nominated B4L for 2022! COVID rules ruled out using her garden so the group assembled in the Mitcham Memorial Gardens. It was a lovely day in the shade (on an otherwise hot day) and that must have helped with the raising of $78. Thank you, Cicely (pictured, right, with Liz Linn at the event) and the donors.
It pays to advertise: So I’m told, or at least to get your name in the media. You’ve read about this in a previous newsletter; the report of the book donation by the Rotary Club of Maloti to the Mpharane community library (initiated by Ntate Mothae Moletsane). But now I’ve seen it written up with the image on the right in an online news service from Lesotho, www.themail.co.ls:
Here is the news item with the linked image to the right:
Also from Lesotho, I read the following in The Reporter https://www.thereporter.co.ls/:
I started up an email interchange with Retsepile (“Rets”) and I discovered more about her and her life and determined that she is an amazing young woman! If you want to learn more about her and her NGO, NewToro Books click here: https://www.newtoro.org/. Her organisation is a subscription library service offered through NewToro Books. It’s purpose closely matches the aims of B4L, so much so that the B4L Board agreed to donate M5,000 to NewToro to allow the service to be expanded. The donation (equivalent to AUD450) was raised in one day through a special appeal launched by the Board.
Upon further interaction, B4L determined that perhaps 4 boxes of books would help NewToro Books grow. The 4 boxes packed totalled 335 books, a significant adding to the current stock. WOW. The boxes have been added to the shipment to the Rotary Club of Maloti which will leave B4L during April 2022. To add to the story, we understand that RCoMa and NewToro have formed a relationship to work together – a multiplication effect after my reading of NewToro Books online!
The Rotary Club of Maloti is an enterprising club! What I have observed includes partnering with B4L and distributing books, (next page) assisting with the delivery of donated books to the Morija Seminary, supporting the new library at Mpharane (see page 1), considering working with NewToro Books (at least to facilitate the book delivery, as above), and sponsoring the start-up of the Rotary Club of Montsopa (see later). We can learn a lot more about where B4L books have gone from this, off its Facebook page (my editing):
“This a short coverage of handover (by RCoMa) of Books to the school at Sisters of the Good Shepherd Centre (4 boxes for primary 1-3, 7 boxes for primary 4–5, 6 boxes for primary 6-7) and ANTS pre-school (3 boxes).”
And a big surprise to me – a new Rotary Club in Lesotho
The morning after I discovered NewToro Books on Facebook, an email lobbed in the B4L Inbox:
“Greetings from Lesotho David,
The Rotary Club of Mantsopa was chartered on 15 June 2021, making it the third Rotary Club in Lesotho. The average age for our members is 35. Our Club comprises more of young adults compared to the other two clubs. Our meetings are held at Victoria Hotel on Thursdays, 17:30- 18:30.
Can I kindly ask what is required to be a partner with books for Lesotho organization?
Mantsopa Rotary Club- President”
What can one do but ask for more details! And then:
Thank you for the swift response.
I’m aware that you are already partnering with The Rotary Club of Maloti and TRC. The Club of Mantsopa Rotary Club is aiming to distribute books to at least 3 Primary Schools, 3 High Schools and 1 community library each year. Please note that I have included Mr. Lemphane in this mail; he is Mantsopa Rotary Club- Secretary. Thank you.
What can one do after that? Check we have a supply of books: Yes! Check volunteers agree that we can pack 4 more pallets (10,000 books) in a year – Yes! (Bless them) Check what the B4L Board thinks – Yes! they agree (bless them, too). But, subject to raising extra funds to cover the costs (the Board is very pragmatic!), about $6,250 (at March’s freight rate). B4L is now seeking the donations to allow a 3rd (or is it 4th) partner to receive books to give to worthy school, institutions and communities to establish or expand their library.
If the funding is available, Books for Lesotho Inc. will, before 31 December 2022, have collected, sorted, packed and shipped over 250,000 books for schools, institutions, and community libraries in the Kingdom of Lesotho, a feat in which book donations from Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, municipal and school libraries, community groups and private individuals have all played a part. Financial support has come from many of the same service clubs, Lang Foundation, community groups and individuals. All together you have played a significant role, whatever the size and type of your donation.
And I must not forget those who give In-Kind. A BIG THANK YOU TO:
Jurlique at Mount Barker, SA – for sending B4L the 2022-23 supply of plastic pallets (which must be used for any freight passing through the Port of Singapore) – it seems to be an annual ritual which is both convenient for B4L and also cost saving (and perhaps saves the pallets otherwise going to waste!).
Preschem of Melbourne Vic – for sending B4L the 2022-23 supply of cartons – it seems to be another annual ritual which is both convenient for B4L and also cost saving. Preschem also donates the labels for the cartons.
NewToro Books seems to have a new book promotion on Facebook every day – to the left is one of them.
On Wednesday, 30 March, we completed packing the 4th and last pallet for this shipment, destined for Rotary Club of Maloti. It included 4 boxes of books for NewToro Books – is this a new era for the subscription borrowing service!
POSITION VACANT: B4L urgently needs one or two new volunteers to help sort and/or pack books; must be available on a Wednesday morning (not necessarily every week!) Please make contact
Thank you everyone who has contributed in whatever way.
Chairman, Books for Lesotho Inc.