Book Aid International sent over 930,000 books to thousands of communities across 20 countries in 2017, it said in its end of year summary.
The charity's focus for 2017 was on ensuring that those who face the greatest barriers to reading and learning had access to books. The charity managed to send 938,330 books to libraries, schools, universities, prisons, refugee camps and hospitals in 2017, with many of these books reaching some of the world’s most marginalised and vulnerable communities.
South Sudan benefitted by 3,806 books, those facing violence in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu received 11,000 books, while 1,600 titles were sent to people struggling to recover from Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean. Books the charity sent are also helping Syrian refugees in Greece and Lebanon keep learning; are being used by students in the world’s second largest refugee camp, Dadaab in Northern Kenya; and are stocking the shelves of libraries, schools and hospitals across the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The charity also opened three new Book Havens in Nairobi’s slum communities, in 2017. Book Havens focuses on working with community libraries and community groups to create child-friendly, welcoming spaces for vulnerable children by providing new books, training for librarians and funds to refurbish library spaces. Plans are in place to expand the programme in 2018.
Meanwhile, the organisation trained 160 librarians in how to support young readers. The year saw the charity continue its work integrating e-books into libraries for children. In 2017, the charity provided 2,000 e-books to complement a range of children’s books donated in previous years to 10 libraries in Uganda, giving children a new way to explore the written word. The charity also focused on supporting literacy and learning in African schools in 2017 by establishing small school libraries stocked with brand new, age appropriate reading books and training teachers in how to use those books in their classrooms. In total, Book Aid International trained 447 teachers in 2017.
Book Aid International chief executive Alison Tweed said: “I am very proud of our work reaching out to some of the world’s most marginalised people in 2017 and I would like to thank all the donors and volunteers who make our work possible. In 2018, we aim to build on our successes and send more books to the people who would otherwise have very few opportunities to access books and read around the world.”
She added: "Book Aid International’s work would not be possible without the publishers who donate the brand new books that the charity sends, its library, NGO and school partners around the world, the volunteers who help pack and send books and its many generous trust, corporate and individual donors. The charity extends a very warm thank you to everyone who supported its work in 2017."