I met Sara the same way many Berliners meet: whilst partying. We added each other on Facebook and casually met from time to time (“Spontaneously”, as Germans love to say), and then, to my surprise, her Lilipad project popped up in my Facebook feed.
Lilipad is a non-profit project that aims to set up libraries in underprivileged schools in developing countries. The first project will take place in Uganda and the second one in Morocco, both in Sara’s mother continent of Africa.
I was immediately struck by the Lilipad idea, as for a long time I’ve wanted to do volunteer work and help people in need (especially as I come from a country which is always in extreme need).
Sara grew up in Casablanca, Morocco, the daughter of two doctors (and therefore a relatively lonely child).
“I was extremely shy while growing up and books allowed me to dream and to want to accomplish a lot of things. It sounds very cheesy, but it’s true. I’m convinced that books can change a child and the adult they become – but first they need the chance to be introduced to reading.”
After extensive research looking for an organization that wasn’t just “charity tourism” (I was not familiar with this term before this interview, but yes, watch out for that if you are thinking about volunteering in Africa), Sara instead found a school that would definitely benefit from books and the work of Lilipad. Kyabirwa Primary School in Uganda, which has around 1000 pupils.
“I’m in contact with the head of their volunteer program (and he has been very helpful and responsive). I have also contacted previous volunteers, so I know that this is a genuine school that really needs help.”
The Lilipad book collection will happen in Berlin, and the books will be shipped directly from here to Uganda in March. If you have some books and want to contribute, just send Sara a message from the Lilipad website or check out the list of venues that will be collecting the books. The books must be in English language and with beginner’s level.
Sara is also organizing a fund-raising event for the Lilipad project that will take place on the 6th of January at Fata Morgana Gallery.
Lilipad’s aim is to collect 6,500 euros for the shipping of the books and the construction of the new school library. With this amount, the Kyabirwa Primary School can finance an entire year of school books for the 100 most underprivileged kids. And the books can stay in the school and be used by new generations of kids. Events like Friday’s at Fata Morgana Gallery will hopefully add a chunk of money towards their total, but Sara is also organizing live music events, quizzes and readings to help Lilipad reach their goal.
After this first project, Lilipad will turn its attentions to Morocco.
Feeling philanthropic in 2017? Here is your chance to help!
6th of January, 18:30h @ Fata Morgana Gallery
Torstrasse, 170, 10115, Berlin
Lilipad. BERLIN LOVES YOU.