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Vandenberg called to help children in Africa

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Reading is a skill that people in America might take for granted. However in some areas, such as Africa, reading is a privilege.

Although literacy rates have greatly improved in Africa over the last few decades, approximately 40 percent of Africans over the age of 15 and 50 percent of women above the age of 25 remain illiterate, according to the Books for Africa Web site.

One Vandenberg Airman is asking Team V to help change these alarming statistics.

"I am running a book drive in coordination with Books for Africa, a CFC sponsored charity," said Staff Sgt. James Hodgeman, a 30th Security Forces member. "Airmen should come in and donate text books or other educational reading material."

The drive, which is held in the base library, takes place through April 30. People interested in donating books should bring only books that are beneficial to the recipients. 

"The charity is looking for certain textbooks, National Geographic magazines anything that has to do with African culture," Sergeant Hodgeman said. "They don't want romance novels, American government or American history textbooks, or anything that involves Western culture."

People who donate to the drive will be automatically entered into a drawing to win donated prizes such as a San Francisco 49ers digitally signed football, tickets to an area arena football game, and much more, he said.

However, the greatest award will come from participating.

"Airmen are trained to think about very specific, mission-oriented tasks," Sergeant Hodgeman said. "A book drive will allow them to think outside of the box, and give them pride that they are helping children 1,000 miles from home."

For more information about the drive contact the base library or email Sergeant Hodgeman at james.hodgeman@vandenberg.af.mil.