Photo contributed by Bob Aguirre
Fr. Peter Siamoo packs books into large boxes.
Photo contributed by Bob Aguirre
Fr. Peter Siamoo packs books into large boxes.
St. Pius X Church Knights of Columbus Council is coordinating the shipment of school reference and textbooks to the Diocese of Moshi in Tanzania.  

The “Books for Tanzania Project” was created after Father Peter Siamoo, St. Pius priest in residence, requested the donations for his home diocese. The priest, chaplain to the local Knights of Columbus Council, described dire need for educational reading materials in the diocesan libraries, which are meagerly stocked.  The council membership and leaders, headed by Grand Knight Jim Krieger, accepted the challenge with enthusiasm.

The goal is to send three 40-foot shipping containers full of used books to Moshi. Each container would carry about 42,000 pounds, or about 30,000 volumes of books, totaling more than 60 tons of books. The books will be given to schools, colleges and universities. School administrators, librarians and teachers will be responsible for the upkeep of the books.

Knight Bob Aguirre hopes that each book will be read by approximately 20 people so the project can benefit more than a million students.

The primary recipient will be Mwenge University, but other programs to receive books are two seminary colleges, two nursing colleges, 31 high schools, 11 grade schools and various libraries.   

To pay for shipping, customs fees, duties and taxes, land transport and related costs to the final destination, the Knights raised funds through pancake breakfasts, as well as private and online donations.  The books are expected to be shipped in mid-May.

“ In the poorest countries there may be as many as 100 or more students in one class, and it is common for 10-20 students to share a single textbook,” Aguirre said.

Many children and young adults in Tanzania want to learn English to improve their future career opportunities and help their families break the cycle of poverty, Aguirre said.

“They need books in English with which to practice reading to advance their education,” he said.  “The books that we send to these countries will bring positive changes, hope and encouragement to those who use them.”

Moshi is in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, located in the northeast part of Tanzania.