Canadian Federation of
Medical Students

Books with Wings

Books with Wings - University of Manitoba

What is Books with Wings?

Books With Wings (BWW) is a collaborative project between Canadian students and their counterparts in Afghanistan. Donated textbooks are collected and shipped to libraries at various universities and medical schools across Afghanistan. This project is important because the civil wars there destroyed much of their educational materials As of August 2011, we have sent approximately 11,000 up-to-date medical books worth nearly $1.6 million. In our most recent shipment, we sent over 70 boxes of books from the University of Manitoba alone, which was part of an overall shipment of over 4000 books from Universities across Canada.

How was Books with Wings started?

Books With Wings was conceived at the University of Manitoba in December, 2001. CNN was interviewing the head librarian at Kabul University. We were shown a single shelf of books remaining, with bullet holes in some of them. The reporter pulled one book off the shelf. It was Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. At the end of the interview the librarian turned to the camera and pleaded for people to send books.

The number one problem had by others collecting books for Afghanistan was that they got them donated easily enough, but had no way to get them to Afghanistan. Shipping to Afghanistan was, and remains, the central problem. Fortunately Canadian Forces agreed to ship books.
Now, Books with Wings chapters exist at schools across North America.

How do I start my own chapter?

If you are interested in starting a Books with Wings chapter at your school, contact Peter Stepnaiuk ([email protected]) for more information. Check out our manual (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dEq1B4TfvcDF7-8-RVWNgbdXdvtUbPBwnVHSRIUHtzY/edit) to get an idea of the logistics involved in starting your own chapter.