TORONTO, Ontario (Wednesday, June 29, 2022) — The Indo-Caribbean Canadian Association (“ICCA”), earlier this month, conducted a successful “Books for Back Home Book Drive” that resulted in “a record number of donations”, which was shipped to Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, “in support of local community-based literacy initiatives in the Caribbean”.
The Canadian-based community organization raised over 2000 books, through a charitable program, developed to provide children and youth in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, with new or gently-used reading materials.
“Many communities in the Caribbean are underserved, and we came together to do our part to ensure that more young people back home, have access to proper and updated reading material,” said Ryan Ramdin, lead-coordinator for the ICCA’s Books for Back Home Drive.
Fourteen drop off locations were established, across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the Kitchener-Waterloo Region, that ensured accessible drop off locations for donors.
An assortment of Caribbean-owned restaurants, small businesses, and Hindu Mandirs, offered space to host ICCA donation boxes, which collectively raised over $1000 from generous donors, to ensure that shipment and duty costs were sufficiently covered, the ICCA revealed.
“It is amazing to see how the community can come together to support a great cause, like this. The response has been phenomenal,” said Ryan Singh, Chair of ICCA.
“After the devastating impacts of the pandemic, it makes me proud that we received this level of support from our community for an important cause. Our group will continue to work, hard, to unite and serve Canada’s Indo-Caribbean community.”
In total, six jumbo barrels of books were sent to the Caribbean: three to Guyana and three to Trinidad.
In Guyana, Pandit Biswanauth Gossai will use most of books to create a library for the Enmore Shiv Mandir, and the remaining books will go to the Little Library, located in Beehive.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the Secretary-General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, Vijay Maharaj, will distribute the books to students in over 40 schools.
“As a new volunteer with the Indo-Caribbean Canadian Association, I was excited to participate in this initiative,” said Cindy Ugrah, a volunteer leader on the book drive. “It was rewarding packing all of these books into jumbo barrels, knowing that they will be soon be in the hands of children in the Caribbean, many who currently can’t easily access reading materials. I know these books will inspire and bring joy to children in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.”
The ICCA was established in May 2021, with the aim of amplifying Canada’s Indo-Caribbean, and to call for action to “ensure that community’s needs are heard and addressed”.
For more information on the organization, please visit: www.indocaribcdn.com.