Battle of the literary minds 2014

Book Aid International’s Annual Literary Quiz was hosted by the incomparable writer and broadcaster Natalie Haynes.

Sixteen teams of bookish people battled it out, from The Guardian, Harper Collins, Carlton, Penguin Random House, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Clifford Chance, Inspired Selection, Tower Hamlets Libraries and numerous authors and illustrators. The evening raised a fantastic £1,619 for Book Aid International meaning we can send a further 809 books to our partners in Africa.

The winning team was ‘Quiztopher Robin’, fittingly a partnership of book editors, illustrators and authors. Congratulations guys!

The winning team, Quiztopher Robin (Left to right:  Helen Boyle (editor of WRD Magazine), Emily Ford (Picture Book Editor at Macmillan), Shikha Sharma, Tor Freeman (illustrator), Tim Knapman (author) and quiz mistress Natalie Haynes)

The winning team, Quiztopher Robin (Left to right: Helen Boyle (editor of WRD Magazine), Emily Ford (Picture Book Editor at Macmillan), Shikha Sharma, Tor Freeman (illustrator), Tim Knapman (author) and quiz mistress Natalie Haynes)

The wonderful raffle prizes were generously donated by: London Review of Books; Penhaligons; Scholastic; Concrete; Pizza East; Eclipse; Little, Brown; New Internationalist.

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“With your help, we have achieved amazing results”

The libraries and other organisations we work with have wide-ranging needs for their books.

Some use them in schools and child education. Others use them to help equip the local community with practical farming and other skills that enable them to survive, build their own businesses and prosper. And some use them to help support vocational learning that benefits the entire community.

That’s the case with Mpilo Library in Zimbabwe, for example. The midwives you see here are researching a number of topics assigned to them by their tutors for presentations they were due to make the following day.

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Thanks to the library’s existing materials, and donated books from Book Aid International, they were able to research their subjects, including neonatal conditions, cancer of the uterus and obstetrics, and make their presentations with a 100% pass rate. In fact, the average grade for these students was a fantastic 84%.

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Of course, it’s great news that these young midwives are so dedicated and are progressing well in their studies. But what’s even more important is what this represents for the community as a whole, and for the future of maternity services in the region. It’s vital that they and other healthcare professionals are equipped with knowledge like this, however scarce their resources, in order to uphold standards, provide vital care and stay up to date with the latest procedures and thinking.

Thombizodwa Sibanda, a librarian at Mpilo Library, told us:

“As a librarian, nothing gives more joy then being able to provide your users with the information they need. Thank you for allowing me to be a better librarian. Our collection is not extensive but with the help of Book Aid International, we have achieved amazing results.”

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A new library in Kakuma Refugee Camp brings hope

Book Aid International sends thousands of new books to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya every year through our partner Windle Trust. A few months ago, we met Addisu Aznato Alene, a refugee of 20 years who teaches English in the camp with the help of books from us.

Addisu's home in Kakuma_webWhen we spoke, Addisu said: “The books we get from Book Aid International inspire people and help them change their situation. Nobody wants to be in a refugee camp. By studying people can escape because they can then apply to get a place at a university. But we need a lot of help. No one wants to live off hand-outs from aid agencies. But we cannot escape without learning. Please help. We need many more books.”

Since then Windle Trust has opened a brand new library. Over 70 per cent of the 7,000 books in the library are brand new and from Book Aid International. We’ve just received the first photos from the library and thought you would like to hear about it.

Kakuma Refugee Camp new library_Oct 2014Raphael from Windle Trust told us: “Refugees from many nationalities use the library; refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda among others. The library is fast becoming a place not only for study and reading, but also for the different nationalities to meet, thus contributing to peaceful co-existence, understanding of one another and building peace among communities.”

Book Aid International_Running in KakumaMost of the library visitors – from young children to mature students -  have no access to books and reading material anywhere else in the camp and the new library provides a rare, reliable and accessible source of reading and learning materials.

Bishara Mwinyi_Kakuma_for web Oct 14Bishara Mwinyi Hamisi is a 14-year-old Somali girl who has been living in the camp since 2008. Bishara is on a Windle Trust programme to support girls in the camp to complete their education; she wants to become a doctor because there is a terrible shortage of doctors in the camp, so she is studying hard and really values the new library.

I have never used a library before in my life and I am enjoying this opportunity. I am happy that the library has taken the burden of buying books from my poor parents since they cannot afford. I like reading a lot to improve my language skills”.

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Shop and give with Barefoot Books

BarefoFor the second year running, Helena’s Barefoot Books is running a shopping event during which Helena is donating a massive 20% of all sales to Book Aid International. Shop in October and November and you’ll not only get some gorgeous books for yourself, you’ll also be raising funds for Book Aid International!

Barefoot Books publish captivating story books for 0-12 year olds which combine exquisite artwork with inspiring tales from all around the globe. They make wonderful Christmas presents - and if you order between 1st October  and 30th November Book Aid International will benefit from 20% of your purchase value!

Not only that, but if you order five books, you’ll receive the last one for free. This particular deal runs from now until 25th November 2014; just enter the code GIFTFREE5 when you checkout. The cost of the cheapest title will then automatically be deducted from your bill.

You can use the code an unlimited number of times between now until 25 November, and is valid with all books and other products, with the exception of gift sets.

Barefoot Books

To take advantage of both these fantastic offers, start shopping on the Barefoot Books website now.

Barefoot Books

If you’re in Fife, you can also order directly through Helena, quoting ‘Book Aid International’. Orders placed directly with her can be collected or delivered by arrangement, with free local delivery where possible.

Start shopping now!


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Book of the Month September 2014: An Introduction to the Green Economy

Our good friends over at Routledge have recently donated a very generous 150 copies of this newly published title by Adrian C. Newton and Elena Cantarello. It will be especially welcomed by our partners in the higher education sector.

Book of the month September

In every country supported by Book Aid International, environmental science and economics are always highlighted as priority subjects in partners’ book requirements. This excellent academic book ticks both these boxes!

Inside book

With chapters on topics ranging from sustainable agriculture and biodiversity to green buildings, transport and waste management, taking in environmental law, trade and justice along the way, this book is perfect for Africa. The first copies have already been shipped to Uganda, with more lucky recipients to follow very soon.

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