Hillel reaches out to Darfur through books

During the month of April, Hillel Foundation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee helped raise money for refugees from the civil war and genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

We held a bake sale in the UWM Union, with baked goods made and donated by Hillel students and staff. A student artist also offered her services, drawing caricatures of students and university staff in exchange for donated funds.

The focus of these fundraising activities was to spread the mission of the Book Wish Foundation: Reading Relief for People in Crisis. The Book Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization that has organized a project to provide reading relief to Darfur refugees and locals in eastern Chad.

Book Wish is attempting to reach out to major sponsors, including the Oxford University Press, and to anyone who wishes to support the education of Darfur refugees and those in eastern Chad.

As Hillel students, we have an appreciation and understanding of not only how important education is, but also how all students should have access to learning. In order to receive an education, tools are required.

Book Wish has a project wish list that includes English as Second Language materials, reading glasses, textbooks, dictionaries, school supplies, and funding for the building of four libraries. Book Wish seeks to form a community that supports people’s educational and occupational aspirations.

As a student of library science and a major advocate of books and education, I believe it is important that those with resources make them available to those who don’t have them. If students don’t have access to educational materials, how can they learn?

As Hillel is a part of the university setting, we have an opportunity to recognize our wealth of information. We have our own academic library, many outstanding public libraries, a campus life and an exceptional education we are fortunate to receive.

Our bake sale and student artist raised more than $100. We saw an outstanding response in those we talked with about the Book Wish project. Their interest in matters concerning Darfur was strong and attentive. We also exchanged ideas with another student organization to plan a Darfur awareness event for the fall semester.

Hillel’s work on behalf of Darfur and the Book Wish project has been beneficial to local students and the entire campus community. Please contact us if you are interested in donating your time or funds for this worthy cause.

Jennifer McNaughton has worked at Hillel for the past year-and-a-half as an administrative assistant. She is also a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s library and information science program.