Why Books?

At Books For Africa, we believe that education is the great equalizer in the world, and books are at the foundation of a strong educational system. For many children in Africa, the gift of books truly is a gift of hope.

Access to an education is one of the only opportunities young people have to end the cycle of poverty and attain a better quality of life than previous generations. Books For Africa works to help children who otherwise would not attend school by supplying educational materials to reduce or eliminate education costs. 

Wars, economic crises, poverty, malnutrition, and illiteracy plague many areas of Africa. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 40 percent of school-age children in Africa do not attend school. Forty-six million African children have never set foot in a classroom.

Most African children who attend school have never owned a book of their own. In many classrooms, 10-20 students share one textbook. Many people in the United States take these educational necessities for granted, but children in Africa cherish books.

Books For Africa supplies sea containers of books to rural school libraries, orphanages, adult literacy programs, and community resource centers. Books For Africa strives to help create a culture of literacy and provide the tools of empowerment to the next generation of parents, teachers, and leaders in Africa.

Although Books For Africa has made tremendous progress in its mission, the book famine in Africa remains a reality. Where books are available, there are still very few. Empty library shelves are a constant reminder of Africa’s desperate need for printed materials. If we are to see the day when African school children are to have the books they need to learn the skills necessary to provide for themselves and others, Books For Africa must continue to send millions of books.

Every day, Books For Africa receives letters and e-mails from people in Africa in great need of books. Your donation will help fund shipments of books to children like these:

Letter from the director of a nonprofit organization in Sierra Leone dedicated to teacher training:

“We want to establish community education centers that will provide print resources. It is my cherished belief that your organization aims at transforming education in Africa through book donation. It is with this optimism I submit this letter of inquiry for some assistance.”

Letter from a Peace Corps Volunteer serving at an elementary hostel school in a tiny rural village in Namibia:

“Though there are no chairs or tables in our library, and only a ragged carpet on a cement floor, the children line up outside, waiting anxiously for me to open every afternoon, excited to look through and read, yet again, the same book they read yesterday.

“The children spend long afternoons flipping mesmerized through picture books, tracing words with their fingers, asking for definitions or explanations. The library has become a place that not only creates a love of reading, but offers and inspires an interest in English, the national language of this still newly independent nation, and an awareness of a world outside the hostel walls.

“It is therefore on behalf of all the children at the school that I request a donation of books for our library.”

There are at least 370 million children living in Africa today. Without your help, many will never have access to books. Without your help, another generation of African children will grow up without books. Please help Books For Africa give the priceless gift of learning to children in Africa.