A librarian cried tears of happiness at the sight of books donated to Marcelo H. del Pilar National High School in the Philippines. As he witnessed the reaction, third-year Trent business student Chris Mills knew he was doing something important.
Mr. Mills created the ASEAN Intellectual Development Project in 2017 to collect used books for schools in the Philippines where he grew up, and knowing he was helping to fill a need was gratifying.
“A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to receive the level of education we have here in Canada,” says Mr. Mills. “In the Philippines you hear stories of six kids sharing one book to do their homework. My 12-year-old nephew is still using the same book my aunts and uncles used 30 years ago. So people were very happy they were going to be able to improve their education programs.”
As a School of Business student, Mr. Mills says he knows the value of a post-secondary education, and knows first-hand how books can change someone’s life. His mother, Rebecca Bustamante, came to Canada to work as a nanny and access to books was key to her later success as an accomplished entrepreneur.
Trent community foundation to early success of the project
Mr. Mills is deeply grateful for the role Trent professors Raymond Dart and Russell Turner have played in raising awareness and seeking book donations.
“I can’t even put it into words how awesome it has been to meet with these very successful individuals [Profs. Dart and Turner],” says Mr. Mills. “For a professor to get behind the project really helps provide credibility.”
The assistance of Prof. Dart and Prof. Turner was crucial to acquiring a large donation of books. Trent’s business and sociology departments contributed significantly to the 6,000 books collected in the past school year alone.
While book schlepping has largely been handled by Mr. Mills and his friends, others have contributed as well, including local St. Peter’s high school students who cheerfully loaded up a truck with about 2,500 books.
The way Mr. Mills views it, it’s all part of his role as a student in Canada, and hopes Trent students will increasingly play a part as the project goes forward.
“It’s important for those of us here who are more privileged to try to make a difference in the world.”