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Christmas appeal provides 67000 books December 8, 2006

Posted by publicpolitics in Good Works, Libraries, Literacy.
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The generosity of Observer readers a year ago has put 67,000 books into the hands of people in the developing world. That is the result of last year’s Christmas appeal, which raised more than £100,000 for Book Aid International.


Book Aid International has a simple, but powerful message: literacy matters, in ways large and small. Books are necessary for the quality of lives, for education, for economic development. And readers can be generous, when they rally around a good cause.

Book Aid International is a small London based charity with a long reach. The organization operates in 18 sub-Saharan African countries as will as Palestine, and provides over half a million books and journals each to libraries, hospitals, refugee camps and schools. While some big name writers , including J.K. Rowling and Alexander McCall Smith provided support and the benefit of their celebrity status, the ordinary readers who opened their wallets last year , including the 2500 who responded to a series of articles in The Observer were the silent armies of this great campaign. Among the partners last year was the Kenyan National Library Service , which helped Book Aid celebrate its 25 millionth book donation. That’s 25 million books, folks. And in Kenya, many of the books were delivered by camel. to rural areas plagued by an illiteracy rate of 85%.

This Christmas, think of Book Aid International. And think of the power of inspired readers: to educate, to liberate, to change the world for the better, book by book.

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Who gives more, religious conservatives or secular liberals? Does this answer surprise you? December 2, 2006

Posted by publicpolitics in Good Works.
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“In Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate
Conservatism (Basic Books), Arthur C. Brooks finds that religious
conservatives are far more charitable than secular liberals, and that
those who support the idea that government should redistribute income
are among the least likely to dig into their own wallets to help

Ben Gose in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, accessed through Arts and Letters Daily

It is not reassuring to those of us on the left coast that compassionate conservatives give more to charity than secular liberals, but the book is intended as a call to action by the left. One of the problems with secular movements of all kinds is that they lack a built in admonition, or requirement, to give. Christians, whether liberal or conservative, do not labor under an unclear moral imperative.Redistribution begins at home, and until actions match policy, those who advocate a more equitable distribution of wealth will suffer from an incontrovertible credibility gap.It is probably true that a lack of associations and networks is the confounding variable in the reluctance of those on welfare to give to charitable causes: the working poor of comparable income give up to three times as much. But that explanation does not do for the rest of us, and the Democratic party would do well, as the original story points out, to ignore anyone who might minimize the power of charitable giving. There are only two positions available here, folks. Either be the most generous, or be shamed.


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