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Campus - 19.04.2022 - 00:00

Books, laptops and more for Africa – “BookCycle” gives learning materials a new lease on life

The student initiative “BookCycle St.Gallen” wants to give books, calculators and laptops a new lease on life. To this end, second-hand learning materials that are still in good condition are collected at the university and shipped to Africa. By student reporter Lara Ziegler.

19 April 2022. They are distributed among schoolchildren and organisations there so as to enhance teaching in schools. The aim of the initiative is to help with the long-term improvement of African education and to motivate HSG students to get involved in the project.

There are countless organisations worldwide that provide funding for projects in Africa or that aim to ensure that the continent’s inhabitants obtain basic necessities. Now there is an initiative at the HSG focussing on education in African countries. Crucial resources such as funding, teaching staff and materials are so scarce that more than half of the world’s children who have no school education live in Africa. One crucial aspect in bringing about lasting improvement in this dire situation is the provision of learning materials. While students in Europe purchase numerous new books and other utensils every semester, most of which are not even used after a course ends, this source of knowledge is not available to most schoolchildren in Africa. To counteract this imbalance, a group of HSG students launched the initiative “BookCycle St.Gallen” last year. This was inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Book Cycle St.Gallen
Kelian, Sophia, Eduard, Louise, Sabrina and Nicolas from this year's BookCycle team (l.t.r.)

“BookCycle St.Gallen” collects secondhand learning materials for Africa

The initiative’s particular focus, alongside improving education in Africa, is a more sustainable approach to global consumption and production of goods. The idea is to collect used books, laptops, calculators and other learning materials that are still in good condition and to send these important learning resources to Africa so they can be distributed on the ground. Instead of gathering dust on the shelves of their original owners, these books can now enable children in Africa to acquire new knowledge for their futures. Before being shipped, the learning materials are checked by the members of “BookCycle”, sorted and prepared for transportation. The British predecessor to the initiative, known as “Books2Africa”, is helping “BookCycle” with the transportation and distribution within Africa as an official partner. “Books2Africa” has been working with the model of secondhand learning materials for many years and is therefore able to provide competent support to the HSG students in the realisation of their project.

The initiative gives all students the possibility to help improve the education situation in Africa and the chance to make their own contribution. An Instagram account helps to raise awareness of the project, with the goal of motivating students to donate their old materials. Anyone wanting to get more involved is warmly encouraged to apply and join the “BookCycle” team.

Lara Ziegler is studying business administration in her 4th bachelor's semester.

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