Every semester, at our little Bible college in Haiti, the toughest task we face is simply putting books into students’ hands.
The biggest obstacle is cost. Most of our students can’t afford to spend twenty dollars for a new book. As a result, we contract with a local printer to have copies made that sell for seven dollars, which is still a lot of money to most of our students. Over the course of four years, students spend an average of $280 on books. That might not sound like much, but the average annual income here is $800. Imagine being married, with children, and having to spend 10% of your budget for everything this year on books.
The other big obstacle that we face is time. The printer often returns our books with pages that are missing, crooked, faded, or blurry. Sometimes, the political situation in the country complicates things. In January, rioters threw a brick through the print shop window and blocked the road leading into town for weeks. As a result, books that had been dropped off in late January ended up not being delivered until early March. There has to be a better way.
By going digital–scanning our library and pre-loading it onto tablets–we could deliver books to students not in a matter of weeks or days, but seconds, and we could cut their book fees by over 80% to boot. The solution involves three steps:
- Scanning the Books
All the books we assign will be transported back to the United States and scanned into e-books. This part won’t cost us anything.
- Buying the Tablets
The Amazon Fire, which costs $50 and comes with free shipping, lets you hold a library in the palm of your hand. Its seven-hour battery life gives students lots of time to read before recharging, an essential feature in the Third World where electricity is erratic. Once we sell the tablet to students at-cost, they won’t have another book to buy for four years. Book fees will drop from $280 to $50.
Cost (initial stock of 20 tablets): $1,000
- Clearing Customs
Customs fees in Haiti can be unpredictable. We will budget for at least 20% of the cost of the tablets. Any and all leftover funds will go to providing scholarships for students.
Cost: $200TOTAL PROJECT COST: $1,200
Will you partner with us to turn this dream into reality? Make your checks out to “The Lord’s Table” and earmark them for “Haiti – Digital Book Project.”