Contact: Tania Vitvitsky, (617) 868-3510
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
In the last week of June, dock workers in the capital port of St. George's will find among the tons of cargo they unload a valuable gift eagerly awaited by Grenadian educators. The gift a forty-foot shipping container is filled with 17,000 donated books from major U.S. publishers, including pre-school, elementary, high school, college and technical materials. The shipment was sent by the Sabre Foundation, a non-profit in Cambridge, Mass. specializing in book donation. Books were chosen and will be distributed by the Grenada Education and Development Program (GRENED).
"In a country the size of Grenada, a shipment like this can have a real impact," said Colin McCullough, Program Manager of the Book Program at Sabre. The population of Grenada is under 100,000, with about 60 elementary schools and 10 high schools.
According to the founder of GRENED, Dr. Dessima Williams, "What makes this donation particularly valuable is that these educational resources have been chosen by the Grenadian education community with the aim of supplementing current classroom texts." Since colonial rule has often dictated what students have read and studied, it is an important point, explained Williams, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University.
The Grenadian teachers, administrators and students who participated in the selection of texts from Sabre's inventory particularly look forward to the arrival of 300 sets of the 1995 World Book Encyclopedia, International Edition, and other World Book materials including dictionaries and CD-ROMs, Williams said. Children's classics on tape from the publisher Simon & Schuster are also eagerly awaited. Distribution of materials will place special emphasis on under-resourced rural schools and communities, with books sent by boat to the smaller island regions of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.
Sabre works primarily in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and is shipping books to the West Indies for the first time, said McCullough. "In countries where English is not as widely spoken, we have focused on sending college-level and professional materials," he explained, "but in Grenada, English-language materials for pre-school, elementary and high school are equally in demand."
The shipment is made possible by support from the Baldwin Foundation, United States Information Agency, and the Agency for International Development. In the fifteen countries where it has established programs, Sabre works with local partner organizations responsible for book selection, customs clearance, warehousing and distribution through networks of schools, libraries and institutions. GRENED plans to play such a role in Grenada.
"We are soliciting funding so that this first shipment can mark the beginning of an ongoing program," Williams said.