There are around 30,000 to 35,000 volumes stored in a classroom at Atlantic Middle School in Quincy, in addition to two private garages. These books are in the process of being given to a school in Zambia.
Teachers Holly Rendle and Walter Cowham, the co-founders of Books 4 Zambia, have sent supplies to the African nation multiple times over the previous two decades as part of Project Zambia. By Friday, July 1, Rendle and others will have raised $10,750 to transport the thousands of books and other materials to the Siankaba School, thanks to their new nonprofit organization.
Rendle said, “It means everything.” “It’s the truest act of just altruism.”
While in Zambia for a funeral, Rendle was moved by the people she encountered. To prepare for this year’s contribution, she began gathering books and materials in March of this year. “A lot of (the people) come from an underprivileged background, and yet they have persevered and they’ve become great educators and they deserve all the resources I can get them,” Rendle said.
Prior to that, the initiative was known as Project Zambia and was carried out in conjunction with the Quincy Public Schools. According to Rendle, Quincy Public Schools will not be participating in any way this year.
Books 4 Zambia, the Quincy Rotary Organization, and Atlantic Middle School, including AtlantiCares, a community service club, worked together to collect books and other items for Zambian children. Among those who helped were members of the Quincy Youth Soccer Association, students from Quincy High School, North Quincy High School, Marshall Elementary School, and even Quincy mom Kassandra Walsh.
Inger Kwaku and her daughter, Geneva Kwaku, of Dartmouth, New Hampshire, have presented the school with hand-sewn, washable sanitary pads for all female students and employees. Student letters describing their favorite novels will also be included. “For me, running these book drives is sort of a thank you to the country of Zambia, the people of Zambia for the reception they gave me and the impact they’ve had on my life,” Rendle said.
The rural southern Zambian community of Siankaba will be the recipient of the newest contribution to its school. In 2006, a mud hut preschool financed by The U Foundation debuted, which subsequently grew to include a nursery school with solar electricity and running water. The school has a capacity of 60 students, ranging in age from three to six. There are plans in motion for an addition that will provide elementary education up to and including the seventh grade.
Visit books4zambia.org for additional information and ways to help.