Posted on September 22, 2010 at 4:45 PM
Wednesday, Sep 22 at 5:49 PM
A group of Central Texans traveled thousands of miles to improve literacy rates in one of the most poverty-stricken countries in the world.
The Davis Moon Project, based in Wimberley, Texas sent a group of volunteers last month to distribute more than 4,000 books to children in need.
One in 10 people has access to books in Ethiopia. The goal of the Davis Moon Project is to break the cycle of poverty through education.
“Many of the children had never seen children's books. They may never have seen books. So they were very appreciative,” said Tricia Traeger.
Tricia and her husband Mark live in Austin. They were part of a group of volunteers who traveled to Africa on a 10-day literacy mission.
“If you just ship books, they tend to disappear. So the way to go is get a group together and hand-carry the books,” said Mark Traeger.
The volunteers brought the books in their luggage. They donated thousands to local orphanages and libraries. In a rural village they even helped build a library out of sticks and mud.
“It gives you a whole new perspective on how much we have, and how much we take for granted,” said Tricia Traeger.
The majority of donated books are in English and at third grade reading level or below. Seventy-two percent of Ethiopians cannot read or write.
“The kids are learning to read so they can teach other people how to read and continue to go to school and break this cycle of poverty,” said Mark Traeger.
The Davis Moon Project travels to Ethiopia every two years. The non-profit group accepts library-quality books and encourages book drives.
“Just sitting with them and reading to them and spending time with them was very heartwarming,” said Tricia Traeger.
For more information on how to help or donate online check out the Davis Moon Project website.