2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges – but despite its warehouse being closed for two months, Book Aid International provided 867,567 brand new books to communities around the world over the course of the year.
These books have reached thousands of schools, libraries, universities, hospitals and refugee camps in 19 countries, and they were all donated by UK publishers.
The books sent around the world included 431,000 children’s books to ignite young readers’ excitement about reading and support their learning, 88,000 teen and adult fiction books to provide joy and escape and 75,000 medical texts to support practising professionals and help students develop their skills.
Doyel Maitra, Group Communications Director at Hachette UK, spoke about their support of the charity in 2020:
“We are proud to continue our partnership with Book Aid International to support its work with communities around the world who struggle to access books. Reading inspires, educates and entertains, and ultimately helps people to change their lives for the better. Last year, Hachette UK donated 43,644 books to Book Aid International and we hope to expand on this in 2021, so we can help to bring the joy and opportunities of books to even more people.”
In addition to providing books to libraries, schools and healthcare providers in 2020, the charity also continued supporting people who have been displaced, sending 5,520 books to support refugees in Greece and 37,942 books as well as 30 Pioneer Book Boxes to people forced to flee violence in Cameroon.
Book Aid International also continued its London Book Fair Excellence Award-winning Solar Homework Club project in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp. The project provides secondary school students with revision guides alongside solar lamps, enabling them to study into the night even when electricity is unreliable. In 2020, these books and lamps were vital for refugee learning while schools were closed and the camp was locked down.
George Nandi from the organisation responsible for refugee education in the camp, Windle International Kenya, explained:
“When schools were closed learning was going on [in Kenya] through radio lessons, but our learners faced challenges in accessing devices such as radios, smartphones and internet bundles. So the teachers issued out books provided by Book Aid International and also solar lamps. They helped the students to continue to study at home.”
Book Aid International is deeply grateful to the publishers who donated books to support people around the world who would otherwise have few or no books at all.
The charity’s Chief Executive, Alison Tweed, expressed the charity’s thanks:
“2020 was an incredibly challenging year, and we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters. We know that many publishers faced uncertainty over this last year, yet their book donations to our charity never wavered – and it was only through that support that we were able to keep providing books around the world. I would like to thank each and every organisation that chose to support our charity in 2020 – and invite them to join us as we look to 2021 and beyond.”
To hear more from Alison Tweed about the charity’s work in 2020, please see her blog: bookaid.org/blog/2020/12/23/books-in-an-extraordinary-year/.
In 2021, Book Aid International is committed to finding new ways of bringing books into communities, reaching more readers and continuing to work for a world where no one is without books. To discuss how your company can support Book Aid International’s work, please contact Operations Manager Harry Boughton, Harry.Boughton@bookaid.org.