Book Aid International sent more than 1.2 million books to 26 countries in 2019, the charity has said in its end of year report.
Curated books donated by UK publishers were sent to more than 3,000 libraries, schools, hospitals, prisons and refugee camps in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Middle East and parts of Europe.
The total included 157,720 books sent to Zimbabwe, 118,371 to Uganda, 105,247 to Zambia and 23,840 to Dominica. A high proportion focused on health and medicine or reference and secondary education, the report said.
In 2019, the charity's total income, which is raised entirely through donations, was £20.8m. The in-kind value of the books donated by UK publishers was £18.6m, around £1.2m higher than the previous year when it provided 1.3 million books.
This year, the charity has already sent over half a million books to 12 countries around the world including Ghana, Uganda, Syria and Ethiopia. Of those, 314,093 are for young learners so they have something to read when schools reopen. The shipments have also included 42,482 brand new and up-to-date medical books to support healthcare professionals in countries including Zambia and Zimbabwe.
C.e.o. Alison Tweed said: “In 2019 we helped an estimated 19.5 million people around the world gain access to books, sending over 1.2 million books to readers in 26 countries. We supported public library services across Africa. We partnered with dynamic NGOs to improve the quality of education in schools. We also trained librarians, teachers and volunteers to create safe spaces where young people were supported to read, learn and grow.”
She added: “We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who generously supported our work in 2019 and who, along with all of us at Book Aid International, believes in the power of books to change lives.”