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Hyatt Bund builds poor kids' library

IMAGINE what frivolous people with money to burn can do with 28,000 yuan (US$4,100). That's one not-so-expensive bag or a stunning outfit. Or maybe some baubles to flaunt.

But here's a reality check: At remote Shatan School in She County of Anhui Province, 28,000 yuan can furnish a library with books, shelves, tables and chairs. And it can pay more than 70 children's tuition for a year.

The Library Project is sponsored by Shanghai's Hyatt on the Bund hotel.

In She County, visitors can see clearly how charity can improve students' lives, starting with basic education.

"From a small start, Hyatt on the Bund will try to help create a better education condition for needy people," says Oliver Chen, the hotel's director of human resources.

Hyatt on the Bund has a long history of cooperating with other charitable organizations to help people who are disadvantaged and those who have special needs.

"We were glad to hear about The Library Project from its founder, Tom Stader, and we're even more pleased to pay a visit to Shatan School to see for ourselves," Chen tells Shanghai Daily.

Unlike some other charitable organizations that simply donate money, products and materials, Hyatt on the Bund decided to spend two working days visiting the school and the library building to ensure their donation would be properly spent.

They took books, shelving, furniture - all the essentials - packed into a van they drove for four hours from Shanghai to She County. Many of the heavy books, numbering more than 1,000 were shipped in advance.

Hotel employees also wanted to experience the touching moment when everything was installed, books were placed on the shelves and students saw their new library. "People may only have one chance in life to be in this place," says Meg Zhang, the hotel's marketing communications manager.

Shatan School is far from major population centers and can only be reached by winding mountain road.

The Library Project, which was launched in 2006, donates books and libraries to under-financed schools and orphanages in developing countries in the belief that education is the key motivator in breaking the cycle of poverty.

"I am delighted that Hyatt on the Bund wants to sponsor the Library Project to help Shatan School build their new library," says Library Project founder and director Stader.

Stader says he started the project because his travels in China and Southeast Asia made him realize the urgent need of poor children everywhere for decent education.

The Library Project is expanding and Stader says the goal is to help more than 350 rural libraries and schools and orphanages by the end of this year. So far around 260 libraries have been started.

"This is an ambitious goal and we cannot achieve it alone," says Stader.

In 2006, its first year, the Library Project donated more than 6,000 books, plus tables, chairs, posters, lighting and maps.

At Shatan School, Hyatt on the Bund employees wore bright orange T-shirts and played games with students.

"They not only donated materials but also showed their enthusiasm and good heart. They seemed as happy as if they were celebrating New Years," says the school's principal.

It was the first time students saw so many people from outside their small area, he said.

"We don't want to treat this donation event as a one-off," says Chen, Hyatt's director of human resources. "We hope we can help these children and increase their appetite for knowledge in a long-term commitment."

People interested in The Library Project charity can contact Tom Stader at or visit

Tel: 1592-9556-183


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