26 March 2011 - United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) from UNMIS joined Juba residents to offload a container of books donated to the University of Juba in early February by the London-based BooksForSudan Society.
The book donation project is an initiative of students attending the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) that was launched over a year ago.
University librarian George Lomude Lemi said the container of books arrived in Juba three months ago and includes texts about law, sociology, politics, and economics, among other topics.
"It would have taken us another two weeks to offload those books," he said, adding that he was grateful for the assistance provided by local and United Nations volunteers. The books will be used by students and faculty when classes resume on 15 May.
The brainchild of SOAS doctoral candidate Benedetta De Alessi, the Books For Sudan Society started as a volunteer activity for students in the United Kingdom.
Volunteer Acuil Malith Banggol brought his wife and children to the university campus on Saturday to help unload the boxes of books. "I got a request from Benedetta, and I decided to bring my whole family to help with this initiative," Mr. Banggol, who works in the Secretariat for Popular and Syndicated Organizations of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
UNVs Nicholas Batte from Uganda and Josephine Lee from Liberia said they found great satisfaction doing volunteer work outside the UN peacekeeping mission in Southern Sudan.
"I had never volunteered within the larger Juba community before. This was a beautiful and exciting experience, and I would love to volunteer again in such initiatives in future," Mr. Batte said.
"These books are going to be of great benefit to the students. I encourage others to volunteer and reach out to the population of Sudan," Ms. Lee said.
But Mr. Lemi did note a pressing need for more space in the university library and urged donors to help the university upgrade the facility to comply with international standards.
"I hope that this experience will generate more interest in the activities of the university and the library as a reference for studying and researching," Ms. De Alessi said.