Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Student Raises Money for Books in Haiti

Student Olivia Bibilonia is an international affairs and French major and recipient of the IA department’s Richard B. Gray Scholarship in 2014, which allowed her to study French in Paris last summer. Now she has a new project closer to home that she hopes will make a difference for young people in Haiti, and she’s seeking help from her fellow students. Olivia has set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations to buy books written in Creole for elementary schools in that country.

After Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck visited FSU and screened his documentary about the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake, Fatal Assistance, Olivia was inspired to step up and find a solution to one of the country’s many problems.

Haiti has a significant illiteracy problem, one of the highest rates in the Western Hemisphere, as much as 37 percent of the population unable to read or write, according to the non-profit organization Haiti Partners.

“I wanted to really do something because I’m also Cuban, and Cuba and Haiti are very close together geographically; our cultures are very similar” Olivia told the student newspaper FSView, March 19, 2015. “To buy books in Haiti is really expensive and most of the time parents can only buy the books for school, so other books like reading for pleasure, are very difficult to afford. We are sending books for the school in general, just so that they can have a well-stocked library.”

Anyone can help the cause at Olivia’s GoFundMe page at this link.