Sending School Supplies to Students in Africa

11:21 PM, Jun 26, 2011   |    comments
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"Kawelle" aims to send school supplies to students in Africa.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.- A new, Western New York-based organization aims to help students a half-a-world away get a better education.

"'Welle' was found to be the name for 'love' in a tribal language in Liberia," said one of Kawelle's founders, Dan Corrigan. "We added the 'ka' which is 'known as', so we went with the name 'known as love,' Kawelle. "

It may have a made-up name, but Kawelle is a very real cause.

"This one teacher in Kenya we spoke to, he can't even print tests for his students. He either has to go to an Internet café and pay for the use of ink and paper, or he has to drive three hours from Kisumu, Kenya to the capital of Nairobi and print them," said Corrigan.

His is just one of the many stories this group of Western New Yorkers felt they couldn't ignore.

Jackie Colosi saw the need there first-hand, volunteering as a dental hygienist in Liberia.

"They would show us just the things they were learning in school," said Colosi. "These kids were in fifth grade and some of them couldn't even read."

Kawelle is collecting new and gently used school supplies to send; if they receive monetary donations, supplies will first be purchased in the United States then sent to Africa.  The group has connections with schools in Liberia, Kenya and The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Out of a concern that anything shipped to Africa could be stolen, Kawelle will deliver the supplies in what it considers the safest and most cost-effective way.

"We found out that through UPS and Fed-Ex, chances are, it's all going to get stolen," said Corrigan. "Getting a carton would be very expensive, they can cost up to about $10,000, so the cheapest way would actually to be to get airfare, and just bring a whole bunch of bags and check a lot of bags to actually hand-deliver them."

That delivery is Kawelle's short-term goal, but from there:

"To just have an impact in each individual school that we're serving," said Corrigan.

Click here for more information on Kawelle.

Click the video player above to watch the full story by Sarah Hopkins.



























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