PARK SLOPE – In BKLYNER’s story last month regarding Tabeel Aromatherapy Gift Shop‘s closing after 21 years in the neighborhood, the store’s owner, Tabeel Rush mentioned that she is working on a project to send multiple boxes of books to a school located in her native Ethiopia.
Rush and a long-time friend, Joanna White-Oldham, have launched a Go Fund Me page to raise the money needed to cover the costs of shipping the books across the Atlantic.
White-Oldham has “joined forces with Tabeel in a very good cause,” she told BKLYNER. “Raising money to ship books to the children of Turmi, Ethiopia. To date, we have collected 24 boxes of books and raised $1,000. Shipping costs will be extremely expensive and we are $2,000 away from our goal,” she explains.
The two woman have known each other for 20 years and White-Oldham says she traveled to Ethiopia with Rush last September. “We visited two orphanages and the Turmi Primary School,” the former English and Drama teacher said.
“We were welcomed with open arms and I, one of the two educators in our group, stood in awe of the teachers that skillfully managed classrooms of 75+ children,” White-Oldham wrote on the Go Fund Me page.
“My experiences as a teacher are partially the reason why I decided to assist Tabeel with this project,” she says. “The teachers [at Turmi Primary School] manage large classrooms with no supplies. It is truly amazing. We were able to go and speak with the older children during our visit, giving them the opportunity to practice their English. During this conversation one of the children asked us for books.”
White-Oldham and Rush have been collecting donations of math and science books for the students who range in age from 5 to 17.
The books have primarily been donated by Rush’s community of customers, many of whom are current or former teachers and school administrators, White-Oldham says. So far, they have collected 24 boxes of books which they plan to ship to Ethiopia using a Texas-based company called Waled International LLC.
The cost for shipping is $3,000, and as of Friday morning, the Go Fund Me page has raised $1,100 of this goal. The funds need to be raised by September 30 to ensure that the books can ship by early October, according to White-Oldham.
Check out GoFundMe.com to learn more about the project and to contribute. You can also find out how to donate books at the link.