“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.

Photo 1

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%.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 11.05.44

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.”

Photo 3

Posted in Africa, Blog, Zimbabwe | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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!


Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Africa, Blog, Uganda | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working with sub-Saharan African publishers

The Nairobi International Book Fair is in its 17th year and 2014 is the first year that Book Aid International has participated in this important gathering of the African publishing industry.

We held a reception hosted by Alison Hubert, Director of Book Aid International. Alison welcomed publishers to a celebration of the charity’s 60th anniversary, commended the vibrancy of the five-day event and thanked participants for their warm welcome.

Alison Hubert at the Nairobi International Book Fair

She handed over to Richard Atuti, who heads up the Kenya National Library Service (KNLS), Book Aid International’s primary partner in the country.

Alison Hubert and Richard Atuti at the Nairobi International Book Fair 2014

Alison Hubert and Richard Atuti at the Nairobi International Book Fair 2014

Atuti expressed his commitment to the relationship with Book Aid International and explained that the new national library under construction in Nairobi had been designed to house a library fit for a century ahead. In that sense, it is emblematic of the partnership’s commitment to enabling everyone in the country to pursue a love of reading.

Image of what the new national library in Nairobi, Kenya will look like upon completion.

Image of what the new national library in Nairobi, Kenya will look like upon completion.

Drums are an important motif in Kenyan culture, and drum-like hubs have been incorporated into the structure of this large, well-equipped flagship building. Library services in Kenya are in transition at the moment as much of the governance of these important public institutions is being devolved to county level.

Book Aid International’s Director then invited distinguished publisher David Muita to speak – he spoke about the pressing challenge for African publishers to address the huge demand for books from their fellow citizens, many of whom are desperate to learn and also to read for pleasure. Publishers should eschew any fear that supporting libraries in dire need would threaten their commercial ventures.

It is always better to put surplus books to good use as Book Aid International does, rather than to pulp such valuable resources. He spoke passionately about the need for collaboration with, rather than reliance upon, the national library service and the charity and encouraged publishers in the seminar room to donate books and explore offering appropriate discounts when Book Aid International is able to secure funding for local book purchase.

He mentioned that Oxford University Press was the only international publisher to have a presence in Kenya and that the vast majority of books published in the country come from indigenous publishers, so it was incumbent on them to rise to the challenge of supporting people in their own country who are keen to learn through books and to develop a love of reading.

Nairobi International Book Fair

Alison Hubert concluded by observing that there wasn’t usually much to be said after David had spoken – that was certainly the case on this occasion – he had thrown down the gauntlet and it was up to KNLS to pick it up and cooperate with Kenyan publishers to turn his vision into a reality. Publishers across sub-Saharan Africa had the commensurate challenge to help address the demand for good quality, up-to-date books across the region.

We look forward to developments over the next year and meeting colleagues again in 2015 for what promises to be another lively forum for the African Book Industry.

Posted in Africa, Blog, Kenya | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment