University of Oran update!

Another great update from Martha Schouten at the University of Oran in Algeria, recent recipient of a Better World Books-funded Books for Africa shipment. Check out previous posts here:
-University of Oran Receives BFA Books!,
-Better World Books Funds Shipment to the University of Oran in Algeria,
-University of Oran gets ready for books!,

-University of Oran update)

Dear Pat and Sarah Lynne,

Life goes by slowly here in Algeria and so do our books’ preparations. The students worked all Christmas-El Kebir vacation then I went to Spain for a week to see my son and the Algerian librarian went to Paris for a week and now we are finally back to class. Most of 300 boxes have been listed for the rector and are about ready to circulate in the large library in the language department. The rector is determined to protect the books and to keep a diligent watch on them. Students will only be able to consult the titles of the books in order to check out from the large library. For the moment there is not enough security and the students and teachers are little accustomed to any other method.

My English club members are now working on our smaller walk-through library. If this goes well then the larger library will allow walk through too.  We have to make cards for each book we have selected and also put them into the computer. Our collection comes almost last then we will make a donation to the University of Mostaganam about 30 miles East from here along the coast. The teachers have come to see me and are overwhelmed at the variety of the generous gift you have made us. The medical literature has gone to the medical school already to my knowledge and the children’s books to another children’s library near the main campus of translation and law.

I am sending a few pictures of the library permanent crew and my students. We had a barbecue of merguez (grilled mutton sausage) and all the trimmings the first day we were back in class. We are on campus not too far from the library. I hope you both enjoy them.

Martha Schouten and English students
ELF Es-Senia
Oran Algeria


  1. Mustapha Aimer says:

    Hello Mrs. Schouten,

    I am very interested in your work and projects for books at the University in Oran. Please may I know more of it?
    I remember how difficult the process of getting the necessary text for classes at the university.
    I am currently an Algerian TESL Master’s student in the USA.
    I was not aware of programs for our university students such as I have read about on this site.
    Thank you for responding with info.

  2. Mustapha
    I was happy to have noticed your message. I am still an English Language Fellow at the University of Oran and teaching English to first and second year students this year. With help from students the English language library is still functioning well. We have had the privilege and honor of receiving such a generous donation of books… you are so right to mention it!
    I contacted Books for Africa an association of all kinds of enthusiastic volounteers who want to help those with little access to books…by donating to schools and libraries especially those in Africa. Once Books for Africa had offered to help us here in Oran the problem was of course the expense of shipping the books from the US to Algeria. Better World Books kindly came to the rescue and offered to send the books for us to the port of Oran. Then with the grateful assistance of the rector of the university the books were cleared at the port and sent by truck to the campus. There has been great enthusiasm from all the students from this day until now to carry all the boxes of books, list them, and now read them! The campus librarians have also assisted in this project.
    I hope your studies in the US are successful and I congratulate you on your endeavor to learn English and also to eventually start a similar project in your Algerian university upon your return to your country.
    Algeria is a wonderful country, there is much to be done, and young Algerian students are highly competent and capable of contributing great things now and in the future.
    Martha Schouten

  3. Good morning, I came across your blog by chance, and I had a question that you might be able to help me with. I’m currently living in Oran, and I’m interested in being involved in any activities revolving around the English language, teaching courses, clubs, whatever is available in our tiny town!
    Thank you in advance

  4. Are there any teaching jobs available? My wife is from Oran and we currently live in New York, USA. We want to relocate to Oran near her family. I was born and raised in New York. I am currently a law student and I will be obtaining my TEFL certificate. I do speak the Algerian dialect very well.

    I can be reached at

  5. I Have had the privilege of being one of Martha Shouten student-english club member. we have had a great time in our projects to promote the English language learning.
    We had students of all levels and disciplines who could speak fluent English and most, discuss English related events and read English written fiction and non fiction. some of us have had dreams In English!
    I should mention that Algeria ,Unlike many would know, do speak mostly Arabic Dialect, academic Arabic in media, and french. In some cases french is native, native-like and second language, but at All levels not English. with the Africa-middle east post civil war situation, It was so hard to find a new book in English, most likely even any good book. just yellow fictional books which are not of any actual use for work fields. you mostly can’t , as well, use a credit card to buy from Ebay and so on.
    When we unloaded the container, the feeling was like a fairy land for English learner for any purpose. It was like a huge magician hat that can give you any book. we were unloading, sorting, shelving…while reading. the feeling was unique. I was sitting on couple of cartons that i was sorting and skimming pages on a book of criminology newly published. there was very specific field medical books , trading, translation, gardening, cooking, evolution, religion, politics, industrial, agricultural, lots of literature…….. It was like the container you need for the post apocalypse to start civilisation over. It was years ago and I am sure by now so many people learnt so many things to improve their lives and achieve harmony. All achieved mostly by volunteering, it is outstanding how people can be for each other.
    I myself benefited from the books. I have the kind of life I dreamed to have by now.
    Thank you Books for Africa, Thank you Better world, Thank you Martha, Thank you me, every one that helped and read the books.

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