Ambassador Sawerengera of Malawi Headlines 2018 Fundraising Luncheon

Books For Africa’s annual fundraising luncheon was held Wednesday, May 16th, 2018 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  This year’s event, Education: Rooted in Reading, was highlighted by a keynote speech from His Excellency Edward Yakobe Sawerengera, Ambassador of Malawi to the United States!  The room was packed with over 300 BFA supporters and VIPs, including representatives from Presenting Sponsor Thomson Reuters, Platinum Sponsor Medtronic, as well as state and local government officials and judiciary members.

2018 Luncheon: Rooted in Reading

Ambassador Sawerengera spoke of the scarcity of quality educational resources in Malawi, describing the daily challenges Malawian schoolchildren face: 

"Throughout Malawi, schools do not have enough books.  In most classrooms in Malawi, the teacher has the only textbook. The teacher has to find the critical passages and summarize it for their students…Books For Africa is changing that."

Ambassador Sawerengera went on to emphasize the power of reading and literacy, saying that 

"Books can be a life changer.  Books For Africa is a simple idea, but its impact is immense.  Books stand for hope. You receive a book, you receive hope.  Children receive these books, and you see their joy.  Equal rights and justice for all demand that we give a good education to the children.  Want children to have a good education?  Keep giving them books."

The Ambassador’s remarks echo the beliefs of Books For Africa.  Education is the great equalizer in the world, and books are at the foundation of a strong educational system.  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.  We appreciate Ambassador Sawerengera’s steadfast support of our mission to end the book famine in Africa!

Luncheon guests also heard from BFA board member and container captain Fotemah Mba, who spoke about a container project that he fundraised and distributed in his native Cameroon.  Fotemah shared a fantastic set of photos, and his engaging description of the project gave those in attendance a true sense of the incredible impact their support provides for children and students in Africa.

The fundraising event was a remarkable success, with over $100,000 in sponsorships, donations, and five year pledges.  Proceeds from the event will sponsor the shipment of tens of thousands of books to Africa, including 22,000 books to Malawi in honor of Ambassador Sawerengera, delivered in a container funded by Presenting Sponsor Thomson Reuters!  Projects in Ethiopia, Egypt, The Gambia, Uganda, and Togo also received funding at the event, as did BFA’s Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative.  The impact of this event will be felt across the African continent!

Books For Africa would like to recognize Ambassador Sawerengera, all of our event sponsors, and each and every attendee that helped to make this event such a great success.  Thank you for your support!  We also offer a special thanks to Hey Man productions for their pro-bono work on our video, to Gabe Photography for the wonderful images captured at the event, and to Rotary International for their generous support of our work.