By James Keller
In the heart of Africa, the University of Hargeisa is part of a vast rebuilding effort after years of civil war. Located in Somaliland, a region in Northern Somalia, the school is in desperate need of new textbooks, according to Salan Ahmed, a coordinator for International Assistance Canada. The fifth annual Students’ Union Book Drive begins collecting textbooks Nov. 1 and aims to help this development.
"For people here [it’s] a sense of commitment to people all over the world," explained SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Matt Lauzon. "For those in Somalia, it’s a brand new university… and many students there haven’t had the opportunity to attend university like we have here."
The event, which in past years raised over 40,000 books for countries in need such as Cuba, Ghana and Zimbabwe, will be collecting books throughout November and December, and aims to ship them by February. This is due to the combined effort of both the SU and International Assistance Canada, without whom the book drive may not have happened at all this year.
"I was told that this year [the SU] was going to cancel it because of lack of funds," explained Ahmed. "We came to a mutual agreement where the university will conduct the book drive and we’ll pay for the shipping costs."
The role of the SU involves advertising and putting out the bins, which will be located throughout MacEwan Student Centre, Social Science and Murray Fraser Hall. While the SU has no specific goals in mind, Ahmed is expecting a repeat of the success of previous efforts–that have brought in about 10,000 or more books each year.
Students interested in donating used books can look for the bins throughout campus next week. If anyone has trouble finding the bins or has other questions, they can drop by the SU office for more information.
"We really appreciate the opportunity here and the help of the Students’ Union," said Ahmed.
Lauzon also sees this as a very positive opportunity for both the students at U of C and in Hergeisa.
"It’s a golden deal for everyone involved," said Lauzon.