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Books for Darfur Refugees

In lieu of our regular Book News — Brockman will return on Monday — and in honor of Boxing Day (here's an interesting Op-Ed piece about the day's origins from today's New York Times), we call attention to a novel organization that provides "reading relief to people in crisis."

Book Wish Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity, in partnership with organizations that work on the ground in some of the most distressed places around the world, supports reading to improve education, mental health, and occupational training. A campaign is now underway on behalf of Darfur refugees, asking readers to donate $1 for each book that you received this holiday season.

More information, straight from the Book Wish Foundation web site:

Reading relief is a concept much broader than providing books. It encompasses all of the aid for community institutions and individuals that makes reading possible. This includes, for example, support for libraries, schools, informal literacy and language programs, and vision care. To provide relief, this aid must match the specific needs that exist, which vary according to the crisis situation, culture, language, demographics, educational history, and aspirations of the people being served. These needs form the basis of the Wish Lists on our website, and provide an opportunity for highly targeted giving.

We focus on people in long-term crisis situations because they may face problems so grave that reading relief is not a major component of the aid they receive, although reading may have a great positive impact on their lives. Refugees, internally displaced people, school-aged children not in school, the homeless, the critically ill, and the desperately poor are among the populations we aim to reach.

Book Wish Foundation was formed in October 2007 by the mother-son team of bibliophiles Lorraine and Logan Kleinwaks, in response to a Washington Post article describing the lack of books in a refugee camp in Eastern Chad. We are staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers, and all money and goods donated for specific projects or Wish List items will be used only for those purposes. Incidental costs, such as for office supplies, are not funded through these targeted donations. Public documents of the Foundation are posted on our website and can conveniently be viewed here. A financial statement is available upon written request from the Office of Consumer Affairs of the State of Virginia, where we are registered to solicit charitable donations.

Here's wishing a year of great reading to everyone.

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