I grew up hearing stories about my mother’s life in communist Poland. As a child, she used to receive an orange only once per year for Christmas. Because oranges were rare, she always treasured the one she received, holding it and smelling it for hours before eating it.

I was reminded of that recently through my work. Last January, I brought a few books to Gaza. I had purchased The Tipping Point, The Lean Startup, and a few other best sellers for the startup accelerator I run, Gaza Sky Geeks. I unloaded them nonchalantly from my backpack, then caught my breath when I saw my team’s reaction: gathered around the books, they touched them as if they were a precious gift, thumbing through the first few pages with anticipation. “Can I borrow this one?” one of my colleagues immediately asked. “We don’t have these books in Gaza,” another explained.

A week after bringing the books to our accelerator, I saw a young woman walking down a busy street in Gaza City – surrounded by horse carts, motorcycles, and buses – with The Lean Startup in hand. I hailed her down to find out where she had gotten it. It was from our library.

This is what inspires me to bring more books to Gaza. Want to join me? Purchase a book by April 2 and get it delivered to my home in California by April 5. I fly out the next day and will take the books with me.

Support our startup accelerator in a small but meaningful way. You can buy a book from this wish list, or choose one of your own favorites.

Thank you in advance, on behalf of a ton of eager entrepreneurs!


1. Order a book from this wish list or select one of your favorites.
2. Get it mailed to Iliana Montauk, 3033 Bateman St, Berkeley, CA 94705-2507
3. Books must arrive to Iliana by April 5. (If they arrive later, I can take them back on my next trip.)
4. Want to help more? Chip in for the cost of extra luggage so I can take a full suitcase of books. Send $10-100 to me (Iliana Montauk) on PayPal.


Q1: Are these donations tax deductible? A1: No. This is a personal effort I’ve undertaken. Thanks for joining!

Q2: Why can’t Gaza Sky Geeks buy the books? A2: We’re bootstrapping. We have a tight budget and a lot of cool things to accomplish with it!

Q3: Can’t you buy these books in Israel and bring them from there? A3: From what I’ve found, many titles are not available. Amazon is an option, but since I’m flying anyway, this method is easiest and most affordable.

Q4: Don’t Gazans want books on Kindle? A4: No. Gazans do not have credit cards and cannot make online purchases. Plus, since they’ve never had them, they love these “real” books.

Sign up for our newsletter at www.gazaskygeeks.com to stay in the loop about more ways you can promote the tech sector in one of the most fascinating emerging markets.

by staff writer

Iliana Montauk
Gaza Sky Geeks Manager, Mercy Corps Digital Economy Program Director