In Cameroon, Africa, books are rare—especially the good ones. My friend Linus is studying at one of the seminaries, and he says the situation is even worse there. The seminaries are bursting at the seams with young men yet the libraries are meager and while most of the seminaries have computers, Internet access is spotty at best.
But what if we could change that? What if we could provide good Catholic books for every seminarian?
I think we can. Through the power of the Catholic blogosphere, I’m convinced we can crowdsource a solution.
That’s why I’ve created the Africa eBook Project. The plan is to send 2,000 CDs to all the seminarians in Cameroon, each loaded with Catholic eBooks including:
- The Holy Bible in English and Latin
- The complete
- The full Catholic Encyclopedia
- St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae
- Several Church documents and encyclicals
- Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Cardinal John Henry Newman)
- Heretics (G.K. Chesterton)
- How to Make Homilies Better, Briefer, and Bolder (Fr. Alfred McBride)
- Lord of the World (Robert Hugh Benson)
- Men of Brave Heart: The Virtue of Courage in the Priestly Life (Archbishop Jose Gomez)
- Orthodoxy (G.K. Chesterton)
- Pensees (Blaise Pascal)
- Priests for the Third Millennium (Cardinal Timothy Dolan)
- The Church and New Media (Brandon Vogt)
- The Great Teachers (Pope Benedict XVI)
- The Little Flowers of St. Francis (St. Francis of Assisi)
- The Priest: A Bridge to God (Pope Benedict XVI)
- The Spiritual Exercises (St. Ignatius of Loyola)
- The Story of a Soul (St. Therese of Lisieux)
Each CD will cost $2 to produce and ship to Africa. With around 2,000 Cameroon seminarians, that’s about $4,000. We could have raised the money by soliciting grants or partnering with a big charity, but we’ve decided to take a different approach.
Two weeks ago we launched a month-long campaign at Indiegogo.com (think Kickstarter, but open to religious groups.) The purpose is to crowdsource this project–to give everyone a chance to play their part. Anyone and everyone can donate $2 and be a part of this the movement.
Within nine hours of launching, we hit our goal of $4,000.
On the second day, we doubled it.
On the third day we tripled it. And now we’re over $15,000.
We’ve covered all the seminarians in Cameroon, so the new plan is to use the extra money to make more CDs and send them to other seminarians across Africa.
One reason the project has been a huge success is the generosity of several wonderful groups like Our Sunday Visitor, New Advent, Aquinas and More, Word on Fire, Lighthouse Catholic Media, and the Libreria Editrice Vatican. They’ve contributed great content as well as some awesome giveaway perks for donors:
- $2 donation – Digital photo of a Cameroon seminarian receiving his CD
- $15 donation – CD talk by Dr. Scott Hahn
- $25 donation – “Best of Fr. Barron” CD including 10 talks
- $50 donation – Church and New Media book by Brandon Vogt
- $75 donation – Catholicism book by Fr. Robert Barron
- $200 donation – Complete set of Catholicism DVD series
Overall, this Africa eBook project is an experiment in new media solidarity. Its goal is to unite the energy of the online Catholic world and channel it into a global work of mercy. We want to forge connections, spread books, and help form priests halfway across the world.
But to do that, we need your help in a couple ways. First, of course, we need donations. So head over to AfricaEbooks.com and toss in a couple dollars. If you can donate more you’ll receive some great perks.
Second, I’m asking you to promote the project on your own website, blog, or social media profile. The campaign will run through June 30, so anytime this month would be great. Even if you do nothing more than post the YouTube trailer that would be a huge help.
Consider this your invitation.
For just $2, you’re a part of this.
For just $2, you can say, “look at what we were able to accomplish.”
For just $2, you can participate in this act of new media solidarity.
For just $2, you can change one big corner of the world.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Brandon-Vogt-e1313148635944.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Brandon Vogt is a Catholic writer and speaker who blogs at The Thin Veil. He’s also the author of The Church and Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet and the top hit on Google for “greatest evil in the world”.[/author_info] [/author]