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Old 10.03.2012, 10:53
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Sending books abroad for free / low cost for a good cause

I will be leaving for Laos at the end of March where I'll be doing some volunteer teaching for a few months. I would like to take some text and children books which will be donated, but taking them on the plane would cost CHF 91.00/kg Does anyone know of a way/company who would ship cheaper or even free if it's a donation? I've tried to find information online but no success.
Thanks much for your help.
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Old 10.03.2012, 12:09
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I have no previous experience with this but just a few things your post made me think about.

Is it possible for you to take monatary donations instead and purchase the books you would like to donate there? Maybe in the capital depending on where you are flying into. That way you would be helping out the local economy as well.

If you already have received the books for donation what types of books have been donated? Again if they are not in the national language of Laos would it be better to donate them here rather than paying the cost to transport them half way around the world and using the saved money in transport costs to buy books there?

One last thing, its often a good idea to take stationary... crayons and plain paper writing books are always good. And also may be a little cheaper to transport.

Last edited by jrspet; 10.03.2012 at 12:27. Reason: Merging of successive posts
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Old 10.03.2012, 12:22
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Re: Sending books abroad for free / low cost for a good cause

Maybe this guy can help you, if you contact him:

http://www.laos-hilfe.ch/page8/page8.php

(I don't know him, just searched for hilfsgueter+laos on google Switzerland)
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Old 10.03.2012, 15:09
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Re: Sending books abroad for free / low cost for a good cause

It's possible to write to the airline and ask them to give a waiver for a certain amount of luggage. We did this to travel to India many years ago, and we were given an additional 30kg per person for donated clothes, toys and books...

Generally, you contact the 'customer relations' or 'public relations' section of the airline, with your request, and they may be able to write you a letter to cover a particular allowance for a certain number of kilograms.

Be aware, too, that some countries will charge heavy import duties or there may even be restrictions (there is a very high restriction, for example, to import books into China beyond what is given to be a 'reasonable' limit, and they also have censorship of certain books and media)...
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Old 10.03.2012, 23:22
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Re: Sending books abroad for free / low cost for a good cause

Thank you all for your feedback. Unfortunately I do not have monetary funds, only books - English grammar / teaching books - that would be donated. Notebooks and things I'll be buying there.

It's true that airlines - years ago - used to let you take a donation, but that may no longer be so. So far, however, I've only contacted two airlines, both told me that they stopped doing that because people taking advantage of it.

I've been thinking about doing some fundraising, but I have no idea where to start, still have to do a lot of reading on that.

I'll be contacting some companies/airlines and see what they say.

Again, thank you for your help.
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Old 10.03.2012, 23:25
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Re: Sending books abroad for free / low cost for a good cause

great idea. i have a friend who does this to nicaragua, not sure how she does it but if you'd like i can get in touch with her (or put you two in touch) and find out. another idea is to have a fundraiser- informally inviting friends, acquaintances and have them donate for the cause. i'm sure most people would be happy to do so.

best of luck!
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Old 10.03.2012, 23:59
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Re: Sending books abroad for free / low cost for a good cause

Thank you, Amaraya. I'd love to talk to your friend. Any help I can get I appreciate.
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Old 11.03.2012, 00:13
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Re: Sending books abroad for free / low cost for a good cause

no problem, i just sent her a message so when i hear from her, i'll let you know! in the meantime, why not have an apero at your place, give a bit of an idea what you'd like to do and have people give donations? or even put an event here on the forum with the info. best way to start is from the ground up and it's a great idea. i have some books too, if you want a heavier load!
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Old 11.03.2012, 01:18
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Re: Sending books abroad for free / low cost for a good cause

Thanks again. I like your idea and have thought about it, fundraising that is, but the thing is, I have no "proof" of what I'd like to do, it's just a crazy idea, so I don't know how comfortable people would feel - except for my friends and people knowing me - to give me money. I'll see what your friend has to tell me.
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