BOOKS RULE: Sarah King at the Sheok Shack, ahead of her fundraiser to for books for children in Africa.
BOOKS RULE: Sarah King at the Sheok Shack, ahead of her fundraiser to for books for children in Africa. Blainey Woodham

Sending books to Africa

Book Project
- May 9, 6.30pm
- Sheoak Shack Gallery Cafe, 64 Fingal Rd
- African drumming, fashion and food
- Proceeds fund books for children in Africa
- bookproject.info.

IT WAS only when Sarah King came to Australia in 2008 as a refugee and began to work at the Tweed Heads library that she learnt the "rich culture" of reading.

Inspired, she's now bringing books to disadvantaged children in Sierra Leone, Africa, with the first "library container" sent in 2013 to Waterloo, the hardest to be hit by the deadly Ebola virus.

Here its steel walls offer safety while the pages of its books offer escape.

"When I walked into the local library I thought: 'I have to get books to Africa' to let the children have the privilege and the sources to read," Ms King said.

"To have the resources to read; enjoy the pleasure of reading a culture and be able to write their own stories it makes a whole world lot of difference."

Since, Ms King's project has attracted donations of more than 20,000 books, 250 computers and soft toys.

"We will litter the most disadvantaged parts with these library containers and every year I hope to add a container and set off the containers as libraries," she said.

But the hardest part is funding transport costs of $16,000 per container and travelling to the Ebola-stricken nation to open the container library to children.

"I'm looking towards the end of the year now that the Ebola virus is wiping out it will be really okay to visit," Ms King said.

"I will be able to go to communities and travel around and do the walks there."

To raise money for the Sierra Leone Book Project Ms King will hold a fundraiser on May 9 at the Sheoak Shack Gallery Cafe in Fingal.

Residents will be able to get a little taste of Africa with traditional drumming, and an Olele feast and colourful fashion parade.

"People don't get to wear these clothes often here I have a collection of African clothes for that. (They're) bright, vibrant (and) lively," Ms King said.

Ms King said she was thankful for her ability to help her community after coming to Australia.

"When Australia helps refugees it does not only stay with our families and friends," she said.

"Just one person like me is able to help our community - it has a ripple effect in Africa."



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