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  1. #1
    Addict sjmayclin's Avatar
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    Help students in Bagdad, Iraq

    So I know this is completely bike un-related, but I've recently become involved with a grass roots project of sorts at my school, University of California, Irvine. The program was started by a good friend of mine who is a Political Science major, and recently completed an internship in Washington DC. His idea was to start a program to "adopt a school" in Baghdad, by supplying it with school supplies for the children.

    Attached is his letter describing the project, but in short, the goal of it is to collect money and/or school supplies to create packages which will be sent to Bagdad, and distributed by the area commander of the US army. Once delivered, pictures will be taken and returned, for the enjoyment of supporters.

    Each package consists of various school essentials which are understandably in short supply in Iraq, including scissors, ruler, pencils, pencil sharpener, colored pencils, paper, composition book, three folders, and a zippered pencil bag. Thats enough to last one student and entire year.

    The goal is to raise $100,000 for the project this year. I know, a tall order, but its beginning, and its beginning right here in our own backyard. How great would it be to know that beyond hearing daily of the suffering in Iraq, you could do something about it. And what is more, be doing something that can help Iraq longterm, by bringing up a new generation of Iraqi's with the benefit of a solid education, that they can use in guiding their troubled nation.

    If you would like to contribute, you can pm me for an address or for more information. This is on the up and up. Checks are made out to "Regents UC/BSP" (Baghdad School Project). You can make a difference, and I know that many of us on this board have the resources to help better our world. The only question is will we do it.

    -Steve
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    Last edited by sjmayclin; 01-14-07 at 12:46 AM.

  2. #2
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Sorry if these questions are answered in the MS Word docs (haven't gotten around to installing Office on my new computer yet) but I was hoping you could address the following questions.

    What is the estimated cost per student supplied?

    Are the supplies mentioned actually in short supply, or is it just that the schools can't afford them? Isn't buying (or otherwise gathering) a bunch of stuff at first world prices and shipping them (at first world rates) to a far corner of the world a lot more expensive than gathering financial resources and buying what you need locally? Put another way, what is the local monetary value (converted to US dollars) of the supplies relative to the anticipated cost of the program? I understand distribution costs time/money, but how much?

    What kind of oversight and accountability is there for the program? Who or what organization will be running the show? What kind of experience does that person or organization have in this type of activity? Not just fundraising, but also interacting with the US military and coordinating across multiple continents.

    What concrete steps have been taken to date? And in particular, has non-profit status been granted to whatever group is running this program? (Yes, student organizations can file for non-profit status separate from the university.)
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  3. #3
    Addict sjmayclin's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response.

    The estimated cost per child is $25. This is a maximum cost, and efforts are being made to reduce the cost via discounts from merchants and distributors.

    The question of whether to buy supplies here and ship them vs local sourcing has been debated, the primary reason for collection, the shipping, is the fact that it simply is not safe to transport money in Baghdad. Also, acquiring materials here assures that supplies are purchased and that the money does not bleed out of the program as distances increase.

    As to shipment costs, the kits are shipped in boxes of 20, and approximately $.30 is required to ship them per kit. Thus, shipment costs are not exorbitant, also lending support to the idea of procuring supplies here and shipping them.

    As far as oversight of the program, the program has been granted non-profit status, and is supervised by the Dean's Ambassadors Council of the School of Social Sciences of UC Irvine. As a result of this, all records are public and viewable, including records of expenditures. Also involved in leadership is an Iraq veteran, who is familiar with the logistical issues in Iraq. The military contact who is responsible for delivery has been involved in projects sponsored by other groups, with 50,000 individual kits already successfully distributed in other areas. So as you can see, this is not an unprecedented effort.

    I hope this helps and fills in a few of the blanks. I am in constant touch with the program director, so any other questions can be quickly passed on and addressed.

    -Steve

  4. #4
    Addict sjmayclin's Avatar
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    bump

  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    While it is great to help folks in other countries, perhaps we should first help the ones in need here in the US . . .

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