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text 2019-01-07 01:41
Book Charities


As a follow-up to our charity picks for 24 Festive Tasks, I thought I'd share a few of the lists and websites I consulted when making my choice, and reproduce the brief descriptions of the organizations presented there, in case anybody here on BookLikes should be interested in following up with one of them.  Most of them have offices in the countries where the majority of BookLikers are from, so it should be easy for anyone interested to take a closer look.  As I said in my earlier post, there are many tremendously devoted organizations with phantastic programs out there; I really had a hard time making up my mind.


Bookfriends International, the charity I eventually chose, is located in the greater Chicago area (1000 N. Rand Road, #206 Wauconda, IL. 60084, phone (1-847) 726-8776; email bookfriends [at] earthlink . net).  I'm sure they'd be thrilled to hear more from us.


That said, here are the resources I consulted when making my decision:



1. To begin with, there is the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning / Book Donation Agencies page, which lists the following book charities:


African Childrens Libraries


African Children's Libraries
2221 NW 12th Street
Corvallis, Oregon 97330-1459, USA
E-mail: ann @ africanchildrenslibraries . org
Contact: Ann Easterly, Executive Director

African Children's Libraries donates children's books and assists mostly in elementary schools in establishing libraries. They are working with mainly children’s libraries in Liberia. ACL have helped establish 18 school libraries and sent some few books to a community college, nursing school and hospital over the last 15 years.

Currently, they can provide consultation to those looking for resources but are not taking applications for additional schools.


African Library Project


Thistle Street Portola Valley, CA 94028, USA
Phone: (+1) 650-851-3640
E-mail: info @ africanlibraryproject . org

Contact: Chris Bradshaw

African Library Project sends English language books, which are collected through book drives. Books are at U.S. preschool to 8th grade reading levels. Available resources include baby board books, children’s picture books, fiction and nonfiction, juvenile literature, children’s encyclopedias, children’s and adult dictionaries, recent atlases, and textbooks in English, science, math and geography.


Asia Foundation / Books for Asia


465 California St., 9th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104, USA
Phone: (+1) 415-982-4640 and Fax: (+1) 415-392-8863
E-mail: info @ asiafound . org
Contact: Melody Zavala, Director (melody . zavala @ asiafound . org)

The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program donates new and high quality used books on all educational subjects and at all levels. Field offices of the Asia Foundation distribute the books to libraries, universities, schools and other institutions in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Please contact the nearest Asia Foundation office (often in capital cities of project countries) and ask for the Books for Asia Programme.


Books Abroad


Unit 1, Richmond Avenue Industrial Estate, Rhynie, Huntley, Aberdeenshire, Scotland AB54 4HJ, UK
Phone: +44-0-1464-861446 and Fax: +44-0-1464-861446
E-mail: info @ booksabroad . org . uk
Contact: Hazel Stephen, Administrator

Books Abroad sends educational, library and resource books for all ages to places of greatest need. New and lightly used school textbooks in all subjects, library books, atlases, dictionaries and health books are available. Books are mainly donated by local schools and North East of Scotland Library Service Libraries. Most of the work is carried out by volunteers. To date, over 3 million books have been despatched worldwide.


Book Aid International (BAI)


39-41 Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, London SES 9NR, UK
Phone: +44-20-7733-3577 or Fax: +44-20-7978-8006
E-mail: info @ bookaid . org
Contact: Samantha Thomas-Chuula, Head of Programmes

Book Aid International works in partnership with libraries in Africa by providing books, resources and training to support an environment in which reading for pleasure, study and lifelong learning can flourish. They provided 563,424 new books to over 3,300 libraries in 2013 alone and have sent more than 30 million books to partner libraries since 1954. The books are distributed by in country distribution partners - library services, local NGOs, or distribution committees. To request books please read through the information and fill out the form on their website.


Bookfriends International NFP


1000 N. Rand Road #206, Wauconda, IL  60084, USA
Phone: USA Toll Free (+1) 877-726-8777 and Office (+1) 847-726-8776 or Fax (+1) 847-726-8775
E-mail: bookfriends @ earthlink . net

Bookfriends International NFP is a non-profit public foundation that seeks to provide educational resources to the secondary school age children (grades 5 - 12) of Africa by providing them with textbooks, library books and reference materials that are in desperately short supply in their local villages.


Books for Africa

26 East Exchange StreetSuite 411Saint Paul, MN 55101, USA

Phone: (651) 602-9844 or Fax: (651) 602-9848

Email: bfa @ booksforafrica . org
Contact: Patrick Plonski, Executive Director (Patrick @ booksforafrica . org)

A non-profit organization seeking to share books with the English-speaking countries of Africa. Books for Africa are the largest shipper of donated textbooks to the African continent and have shipped over 30 million school, university, and library books to 49 African countries since 1988. The organization only sends new or gently used books in excellent condition. All books are donated, with receiving organizations paying the costs ($10,000 - $15,000 per container) of shipping donated books in 40-foot containers each holding approximately 22,000 books.


Books for International Goodwill (B.I.G.)


Parole Rotary Club, P.O. Box 6327, Annapolis, MD 21401-0327, USA
Phone: +1-410-293-6865
Contact: bigbookdonations1 @ gmail . com

B.I.G. is a non-profit charitable organization associated with the Parole Rotary Club providing gifts in kind in cooperation with the public and private sectors. They ship books from individuals, bookstores, schools or libraries to needy countries in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and other areas of the world. The books are sorted into the following categories: college texts, high school texts and elementary texts and general reading for libraries (fiction and non-fiction), medical school, religion and paperbacks. The books are sorted and stored by volunteers. Shipping can be paid primarily by B.I.G. (with the recipient responsible for customs clearance and inland transportation). Over 6.4 million books have been sent.

Note: B.I.G. has suspended operations pending the procurement of a new warehouse. They cannot accept volunteers or book donations at this time (11/01/2018)


Books for the Barrios, Inc.


1125 Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek, California 94598, USA
Phone: (+1) 925-934-6718
E-mail: joinus @ booksforthebarrios . org
Contact: Nancy Harrington

Books for the Barrios operates in the Philippines. Elementary textbooks, children‘s fiction and picture books, toys and games, athletic equipment and consumable school supplies are available.

Due to the large size of shipments, individual requests cannot be honoured except as part of an ongoing project to the requestor’s particular locale. Individuals interested in acting as coordinators for large book shipments, however, should contact Books for the Barrios. Coordinators assist in identifying appropriate recipient schools, repacking books in smaller lots and organizing distribution. Coordinators can identify shipment sponsors among local government officials and civic leaders. The program is eligible for available countrywide development fund support.


Bridge to Asia


1505 Juanita Way, Berkeley, CA 94702-1103, USA
Phone: (+1) 510-665-3998 and Fax: 510-665-3988
E-mail: asianet @ bridge . org
Contact: Newton X. Liu, Ph.D.

Bridge to Asia operates in China and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Vietnam). New and lightly used books, journals, magazines, databases, children‘s books, school books, reference books and other educational materials are available. Bridge to Asia has only a limited ability to send materials to individuals and to organizations not part of the recipient universities distribution system. Such requests often require personal attention and special shipping procedures. Bridge to Asia can still fulfill requests from individuals, but it may be several months before the books are sent out.


Brother's Brother Foundation (BBF)


1200 Galveston Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15233, USA
Phone: (+1) 412-321-3160 or Fax: (+1) 412-321-3325
E-mail: mail @ brothersbrother . org
Contact: Frank Seanez (Warehouse Assistant and Education Program Coordinator)

The Brother's Brother Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization providing gifts in kind in cooperation with the public and private sectors. Working with volunteers in host countries, they have sent over 8,000,000 books to schools, universities and civic organizations since 1986. Brother's Brother Foundation typically deals in very large quantities (a ton may be considered a small quantity). They provide medical supplies, textbooks, food and seeds to countries all over the world. Their Education Program helps developing countries to build educational infrastructures by providing donated books and educational materials to Africa, South and Central America, East Europe and Asia. All donated books are screened to ensure that they are usable and relevant. Currently 15% of donations are used books and 85% are new books. Once a recipient is established, BBF makes available a book list for the recipient to select titles and quantities. On the website you will find an online application for receiving donations.


Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE)


321 Chapel Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 7Z2, Canada
Phone: +1- 613-232-3569 or Fax: +1- 613-232-7435
Contact: Hila Olyan, Director of International Programs (holyan @ code . ngo)

CODE is a Canadian charitable organization that has been promoting education and literacy in the developing world since 1959.  CODE builds the bridge of literacy by developing partnerships that provide resources for learning, promote awareness and understanding, and encourage self-reliance. CODE’s book donation programme is based on a long-term partnership arrangement with mostly non-governmental organizations in Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania. North American donated books are selected by local book committees from booklists that are made available to the partners by CODE’s affiliate organization, the International Book Bank (IBB), based in Baltimore, USA. The donation programme is supplemented by funding for the organizations that enables them to purchase books from local publishers or to publish books themselves for free distribution to the target audience. The different sources of books ensure that materials are relevant to the needs of the end users, the readers. CODE and partners also establish libraries, train teachers, librarians and other literacy agents to support quality education for children. Please ask CODE headquarters for the nearest local organization or have a look at their website.


Darien Book Aid Plan


1926 Post Road, Darien, Connecticut 06820, USA
Phone: +1-203-655-2777
E-mail: darienbookaid . international @ gmail . com
Contact: Libby Gedney

Darien Book Aid Plan has books on different subjects that are less than 10 years old. They send small boxes of books directly to libraries, schools and hospitals all over the world. The organization does not accept magazines in general, but forwards The National Geographic if it is less than 5 years old. Darien Book Aid Plan does not work with partner organizations. Apart from libraries, they also support local prisons with paperback books and give books to organizations that hold fundraising book sales. Darien Book Aid Plan will send a postcard informing you of the date of the transportation. They appreciate receiving a thank you note with a picture of the library or institution.

Please write a letter or an e-mail to apply for book donations with the following information:

  1. the name of your institution and the type of education or services you offer   
  2. the ages of the people who are the intended readers    
  3. the English reading level of the intended readers – beginning, intermediate or advanced    
  4. the types of books that would best fill your needs – textbooks, reference books, story books, fiction, non-fiction etc. (Please be as specific as possible. We want to fill your needs as closely as we can.)
  5. your mailing address and phone number in the exact form it should appear on our mailing label.

Global Book Exchange (GBX)


664 Hilary Drive, Tiburon, CA 94920, USA
E-mail: global.k12books @ gmail . com
Contact: Marilyn Nemzer, Director

GBX operates worldwide and is non-sectarian and supports all secular and religious recipients. However, religious texts are not available. Grades K to 12 used textbooks, teacher’s editions and readers are available. GBX collects surplus used books from local schools. The books are evaluated for condition and applicability. Books not deemed useful are recycled. For shipped books, GBX prefers to ship to a Rotary Club for distribution. The receiving club is responsible for customs clearance (when required) and distribution to clients. GBX gives high priority to recipients able to pay for port-to-port shipments. Shipping costs for a typical pallet shipment of 1000 books are approximately $500. A typical container shipment of 15,000 books costs approximately $4,000. Recipients are expected to pay any in-country costs (customs clearance, storage, distribution). GBX has limited funds for shipping costs. For international shipments, GBX sends as few as thirty boxes and as much as a 20-foot container.


International Book Project, Inc.


Van Meter Building, 1440 Delaware Avenue, Lexington, Kentucky 40505, USA
Phone: (+1) 859-254-6771
Contact: director @ intlbookproject . org

Book Project sends books to libraries, schools, hospitals and universities in the Global South and parts of the U.S.A. since more than 36 years. Books can be new from publishers or used from individuals, schools and libraries. They cover all levels, children's books through graduate and professional books. On the website you will find an application form for book donations that will be assessed based on the quality and completeness of the application, suitability of the organization as a long-term partner and the IBPs ability to provide the specific books requested.


Rotary Books for the World


4601 Hamblen Court, Seabrook, TX 77586, SA
Phone: (+1) 281-474-2260 and Fax: (+1) 281-474-1492
E-mail: c . clemmons @ att . net / b . clemmons @ att . net
Contact: Charlie Clemmons or Barbara Clemmons

Rotary Books for the World mainly operates in Southern Africa. They work through partnerships with Rotary Clubs in the Global South with their main partner being the Rotary Club of South Africa. The South African Rotarians have a new Rotary Humanitarian Aid Centre which serves as the book distribution center as well as district offices, training facilities, and dispenser of other aid materials. It holds racks of books carefully sorted by subject matter making it easy for the teachers to select their books. The Centre is open every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for qualified schools, libraries, and educational institutions to come and pick up as many books as they can carry. New and used primary, secondary, and college-level textbooks, and general reading material for libraries are available. For requests, please contact Charlie or Barbara Clemmons.


Skipping Stones


Box 3939, Eugene, OR 97403, USA
Phone: 541-342-4956
E-mail: Arun Narayan Toké, Editor (editor @ SkippingStones . org)

Skipping Stones has donated books and back issues of Skipping Stones magazines all over the world. All kinds of books are donated: fiction and nonfiction, picture books, chapter books, juvenile novels, reference books, nature, multicultural works and folk tales. Skipping Stones, an international, non-profit, multicultural and nature awareness magazine, is now in its 30th year. The magazine, published quarterly (4 times a year), includes original writing, poetry, art and photography by all ages, especially youth. This non-commercial, ad-free magazine welcomes your students’ writing and art in English, as well as all bilingual (with another language) submissions. Annual Subscriptions are $35, including international postage.

While the donations of books and magazine back issues are free, Skipping Stones asks that those requesting donations arrange for shipping and handling costs. With increased international postage for overseas shipments, it is not possible for Skipping Stones to cover the postage. A large Flat Rate Priority Box of books (weight, approx. 16 to 20 pounds) costs us US$92.00 in postage. If you can arrange a US mail to address, postage can be much less.


Sources of Donated Books for Schools and Libraries

Peace Corps. 2012. Sources of Donated Books for Schools and Libraries. [pdf] Washington DC, Peace Corps. Available at: http://files.peacecorps.gov/library/RE003.pdf [25.01.2018]

This document originally intended to help Peace Corps Volunteers and their counterparts identify organizations that might provide books and other educational materials for schools and libraries in their communities. However, the organizations listed also provide support to other organisations.  The services described for each organization listed in Section A apply specifically to Peace Corps Volunteers. The services and procedures for organizations listed in Section B apply to counterparts or other host country nationals requesting assistance directly.


The World Bank Family Network (WBFN) / Book Project


1818 H Street NW, MSN J2-202, Washington DC 20433, USA
Phone: +1-202-473-8960 and Fax: +1-202-522-0142
Contact: Catherine Mathieu, WBFN Coordinator (bookprojectwbfn @ worldbank . org)

The Book Project receives, packs, and distributes donated books to educational institutions in rural and disadvantaged areas of developing countries. Books are donated to all school levels, libraries and community groups concerned with education. When a Distributor requests a shipment book request forms are received from the institutions to justify sending a container of books to a country, WB Book Project in cooperation with a Distributor in Washington, DC finds a recipient organisation to clear the books through customs and distribute them to the recipients. The Distributor can either be spouses/staff of World Bank Missions, the Peace Corps in countries where volunteers are working with libraries and schools, ministries, or local or international NGO's.  WB Book Project sends up to four containers (20' or 40') of 320 or 576 boxes of books per year to developing countries around the world (shipping is paid to the nearest point of entry). Write to them for a book request form (do not contact the local office of the World Bank). Development workers or librarians visiting Washington D.C. can select books from their warehouse to take to libraries overseas. Due to the long waiting list of countries wanting shipments, it usually takes at least two years for WBVS to collect enough requests from one country, find a reliable distributor, pack the shipment and send it overseas.




2. Then, there is an International Book Giving Day blog post on a book reviewer's blog called Playing by the book, which presents 150+ literacy and reading charities (both international and domestic): Some of these overlap with the UNESCO list, but the blog post lists many other charities as well.  The blog post also contains links for the UK Charity Commission Register and The Office of the Scottish Charities Register (the link provided there for the IRS charity search page is broken; the new IRS charity search page is here); and it features, inter alia, MbD's and Moonlight's 2018 choices (and my 2017 choice), The Book Bus and Room to Read:

The Book Bus
The Book Bus believes that every child should have the opportunity to discover the hidden treasures that books contain. Our aim is to reveal the value of literacy by instilling a lifelong love of reading in young children. Using the spoken word, artwork, puppet-making and a host of other media, our volunteers bring to life the worlds within storybooks. The Book Bus provides a mobile service and actively promotes literacy to underprivileged communities in Zambia and Ecuador. The legacy of each Book Bus visit is a reading corner and bookshelves stocked with children’s books.


Room to Read
Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.

... as well as, for example:

IBBY – The International Board on Books for Young People
The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. As well as supporting the general organization you can also donate to specific projects around the world through their Children in Crisis Fund.


LitWorld works to cultivate literacy leaders worldwide through transformational literacy experiences that build connection, understanding, resilience and strength. LitWorld joins together with teachers, parents, community members, and children to support the development of sustainable literacy practices across the world. One of their main activities is World Read Aloud Day.


GBA Ships
The ships visit each port for several weeks each and open the gangways to hundreds and sometimes thousands of visitors each day. On average, over one million visitors have been welcomed on board every year! The floating book fairs offer over 7,000 titles, providing many visitors their first-ever opportunity to purchase a wide range of quality literature.


Shine is a literacy charity that works in Zambia. They run a literacy school in a shanty town in Lusaka which has around 150 children all learning how to read and write. Every child receives a daily meal at the school and pays no fees whatsoever.


Friends of African Village Libraries
FAVL’s goal is to assist the rural poor of Africa with the creation of village libraries. FAVL refurbishes community-donated buildings, transforming them into a space to read and study. Libraries are stocked with books by local authors and in local languages to the greatest extent possible. In addition, FAVL sponsors librarian training and provides for librarian salaries, thereby empowering locals with skilled employment.


Wings of the Dawn
Our Vision is to establish functional literate communities in Africa to bridge the gap between poverty and prosperity. Our Mission is to help build economically stable and productive societies in African communities by ensuring access to self-sustaining educational centers for its citizens.


3. And finally, there is of course Google, which will take you directly, inter alia, to the websites of these two programs:

World Literacy Foundation

"We strive to ensure that every young individual regardless of geographic location has the opportunity to acquire literacy and reading skills to reach their full potential, succeed at school and beyond. We provide free access to quality education materials and innovate solutions that target wide-scale illiteracy. We envision a world in which every one of us can read and write, in which there is free access to education for all."


Aid for Africa / Girls Education Project

"Aid for Africa is committed to empowering girls through education. When a girl in Africa gets the chance to go to school and stay in school, the cycle of poverty is broken and things change."

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text 2019-01-04 20:52
24 Festive Tasks: It's Giving Time (Part 2)

... or rather, giving back time -- giving back to all of you for the enthusiasm and creativity you brought to the 2018 version of 24 Festive Tasks!


As MbD said, there are many deserving charities with many deserving individual projects out there, and a heartening number of them are book-related.  My choice this year, again, was a charity that not only fosters reading and education but, more specifically, girls' education:


I chose Bookfriends International, NFP, a U.S.-based, registered (501(c)3 tax status), volunteer-run nonprofit committed to helping educate children in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi by providing secondary schools (equivalent to American grades 5 to 12) and teachers in these African countries with books, supporting educational materials and services donated by schools, libraries, used book stores, book clubs, educators, and private individuals.  They work on a grassroots level, in direct contact with school administrators and village leaders in their African partner areas.



From their website:

"To understand what Bookfriends International is about is to understand our belief that education can generate the real, long-term solutions for many of our world’s problems. Strong democracies, vibrant economies, healthy societies and responsible birth control can only progress on the foundation of an educated population.  We center our efforts around supporting the African education system.


Bookfriends International was founded on the belief that every child deserves a chance to learn and to develop his or her individual abilities. [...]

Our founders envisioned that the surplus and used books in America could be put to efficient use to bolster educational opportunities in Africa. After years of working with many school teachers and administrators in Africa, we know even more fully that good books, properly placed, create individual growth and bring personal victories of dynamic proportions.


We know that when hearts and minds become hopeful, helpful and forward-looking, communities and whole societies benefit. Education is basic to tackling poverty, corruption and social injustice and to keep those problems from passing to the next generation.


An important element of our philosophy is to provide the right books to a school at the right time. We work closely with African schools to satisfy their individual needs."


"Bookfriends provides children and their educators and librarians in Africa hope for the future. Education is the key for African youth to become self-sustaining and contributing citizens of a better world.  Each book we donate is very much like casting pebbles into a still pond: the ripples created by each book received, creates the awakening of a young mind!


The schools’ needs are pre-determined prior to gathering books for a shipment through direct contact with our established and growing network of school and village leaders in Africa. [...]


Each school receives a well-chosen library of approximately 1,000 books.  To date, more than 100,000 students have found a productive direction for their lives, thanks to volunteers and donors of Bookfriends."


A donation of USD 100 will provide for 200 books -- or one fifth of the library provided to one particular school.


The types of books being shipped include scholastic material for all major subjects, including STEM, English, world history and geography, economics / business, health, music, and fine arts; as well as library resources and reference material (dictionaries / encyclopedias, thesauruses, and copies of National Geographic), and also fiction books.  A detailed list can be found here.



In addition, Bookfriends International has initiated a Girls' Project to assist African girls to stay in school longer.  They explain:

"In many cultures around the world, including Africa, girls are often not valued very highly.  It is just the way it is, and has been for centuries.


How can this change?


There ARE solutions, and Bookfriends is working on an initiative to encourage the girls to remain in their classrooms consistently simply by having monthly hygiene supplies. By staying in school, they are able to continue receiving an education.  Education can change their lives dramatically.


The educated female students, in turn, are more valued by their families and communities.  As the young women display their capabilities, they are appreciated more than ever by their peers as well.  Additionally, the great increase in their self-esteem as educated young ladies gives the girls aspiration and visions for a healthy and productive future.


If a girl can remain in school all month, she won’t fall behind in her classes. If she stays home for a week per month, she may not be allowed by her family to return. She will have less risk of becoming a victim of sex trafficking if she can remain in school. [...]


Each container of books that we ship serves 10 schools, in which there are approximately 4,000 female students."

The monthly hygiene kits provided by Bookfriends and its volunteer contributors contain the basic items that women in North America and Europe have come to take for granted, but which are still in woefully short supply in parts of Africa and elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, such as pads and clean underwear; as well as information brochures.  Obviously, menstrual hygiene is only one of the hurdles that girls in Africa have to overcome on their path to education, but it's one of the most jaw-droppingly basic ones, and I love seeing a charity that understands and addresses the fact that education -- especially women's education -- is not an issue separate and apart, but can only be truly successful if it is seen in conjunction with the students' lives outside school (or at least those aspects of their lives that have the very real power of negatively impacting their learning and school attendance).


(All images in this post from the Bookfriends International website)



ETA: I've had not one but two very nice, personal emails from one of the co-founders of the project thanking us for our donation and expressing appreciation for the BookLikes community.  From her emails I take it that our donation will go towards funding books, but it will also make a significant contribution to the girls' project.  W00t!

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text 2017-11-02 17:55
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: The Charities

In the spirit of this game, Murder by Death and I agreed that we wanted to support charities working internationally, in countries where reading is still a challenge to many.  We looked at charities active in various parts of the world, working in a number of different ways and with different focuses, and eventually chose two that cover a fairly wide array of countries in Africa and Asia, with different approaches, but with the common goal of making books and the ability to read available to everybody, from childhood on.


These are the two we've decided to support on the basis of this game:


Book Aid International



From their website:

"Our mission, vision and values

We believe that books have the power to change lives. This belief underpins our vision, mission and the values which guide everything we do.


Our vision and mission

Our vision is a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.

Our mission is to provide books, resources and training to support an environment in which reading for pleasure, study and lifelong learning can flourish.


Our values

Our values inform and guide our work. We are committed to:

Equality of opportunity. Everyone should have the opportunity to read, whatever their circumstances. We support people from all walks of life in their efforts to access the books they need to achieve their goals.

Quality. No-one should have to make do with old, out-of-date books which do not meet their needs. The quality of the books we send is the hallmark of our work.

Investment in the future. Capacity building creates long-term-impact. We help increase the ability of local libraries to support their communities by training librarians and teacher librarians in working with children and other key skills.

Collaboration. Working in partnership ensures that our work is effective, responsive and meets communities’ real needs. We work closely with national library services, NGOs, community library networks, local government and individual institutions.


What we do

We provide books so that people can change their own lives through reading.


The need for our work

Across Africa, millions of people are unable to fulfil their potential because of a basic lack of books and reading resources.

Literacy and access to information have been shown to reduce poverty, providing opportunities for work, increasing household income, even improving the health of children. A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five.

We understand the pleasure and opportunities that reading can bring and we believe everyone should have the opportunity to read. Through reading, people can change their own lives for the better and shape their own futures.


What we do

In places where books are scarce libraries are often the best places for people to discover the joy of reading. By supporting libraries we can provide access to books for millions of people each year.

We supply brand new books, donated by publishers, to public, community and school libraries across Africa. By partnering with national library services, government departments and NGOs we are able to send up to one million brand new, carefully selected books to Africa each year.

With training and skills development librarians can transform their libraries into the heart of their communities. We provide training to develop the skills of librarians for years to come.


Where we work

At present, we are proud to support readers in 14 countries.





Room to Read



 From their website:

"We Believe that World Change Starts with Educated Children.

We envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their communities and the world.

Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond. 


When a Child Reads, She Can Write Her Future

Being able to read and write is essential. Written words are gateways to knowledge and opportunity that are only accessible to those with the ability to decipher them. Despite the known benefits of literacy, 175 million young people in low- and lower middle-income countries are unable to read a single sentence. That’s one out of every four children.

Without a strong foundation of literacy skills, children are more likely to struggle throughout their education, live in poverty and see their potential hampered. In the areas where we work, numerous barriers prevent students from developing the literacy skills they need to thrive. These include a lack of educational resources, minimal exposure to age-appropriate books, insufficiently trained teachers and overstretched infrastructure. We evaluate the extent of these main barriers and work in partnership with local governments to assist schools to address the specific challenges they are facing and ensure students have what they need to develop strong literacy skills and a habit of reading.


When Girls Stay in School, Life Improves...for Everyone

Whether or not a girl stays in school has an astounding effect on not only her quality of life, but on her future family’s as well. For a girl in one the most underserved parts of the world, staying in school longer means she is more likely to build a smaller and healthier family, lower her probability of contracting HIV, and earn a higher wage. She is also more likely to marry later and educate her own children — ending the cycle of illiteracy in one generation.

Yet, girls lag behind boys in their completion of secondary school. In the last decade, the world has made significant gains in primary school enrollment but girls in low income countries still drop out at an alarming rate. Out of the 124 million children and young adolescents who are out of school, 52 percent are girls. Girls face serious barriers such as cultural bias and lack of safety. And these challenges can compound as girls transition into secondary school; they include increased school costs, the need to contribute to family income, and pressures to marry and begin a family. Thus, our program includes four core components — life skills, mentors, material support, and community engagement, which we implement based on local conditions, individual need and grade level.


Negotiating a Better Future Through Life Skills

Girls need life skills. Thinking critically, empathizing and relying on themselves help them meet day-to-day challenges and make informed decisions. When girls learn these skills and how to use them daily, they become better equipped to handle the challenges they may face, from gender bias to finding time to study. We help girls to discover their own strength, advocate for themselves, and create a new and different path from the one that might be forced upon them. Our program enables girls to learn and practice life skills through classes, workshops and extracurricular activities.


Sustaining and Scaling Girls' Education Programs

With your support we can scale faster and transform communities across the globe. Together, we have the potential to reach 15 million children by 2020. We invest in girls’ education for long-term, systemic change. That means sustaining our programs for years, if not decades, and scaling them to a country’s need. To these ends, we focus on girls’ transitions into and through secondary school — that’s where the biggest and most permanent gaps in gender equality in education take place. We also collaborate with government officials at the local, regional and national levels to promote girl-friendly learning environments. These partnerships ensure that our program is complementary of national efforts, sustainable and nationally scalable.


Impact & Reach





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