BFA Honors Fathers this June

June is a great time to recognize the wonderful work fathers do! From nurturing their children to encouraging education, a father is a critical influence.

Here at BFA, we’re marking the holiday with some profiles of dads who inspire us, recounted by some of our friends and partners! You can also honor a father or father figure in your life with an honoree donation, and we’ll follow up with an email or card to thank him for inspiring a gift of literacy!

Friend of BFA Nigel Savel said, ""Books transfer such a flow of wisdom; that once captured and applied great fruits abound causing you to achieve good success in life. Books contain words that will shape, sharpen, and perfect your Life. As a Father, it's important for me to shape my child's life with the right words"

Container Captain Abdur Nur said, "Reading to children has proved to enhance their language and educational development.  As a father myself, I am well-aware of the impact that reading has on a child's literacy. I learned the importance of reading at an early age, and I have instilled it in me to teach my children the same precept. Being a father of five, I regularly stimulate my children's' inclination for reading by consistently taking them to public libraries and bookstores. My youngest daughter had said that her enjoyment for reading began when I had first brought her to the library many years ago. Reading itself has a considerable influence on my children. Though COVID-19 has caused some difficulty regarding our ability to leave our home, my children still enjoy reading their many books from home."

Abdur is currently fundraising for his project Fighting Against Illiteracy - Somaliland. Click here to read more about his work!

Past BFA Board President Jote Taddese said “I am a living example of when we put a book in the hands of a child, we not only help fulfill the potential of the child, but also change the impact on the lives of individuals and communities that child will touch. This is my life experience that always inspires me to support kids in Africa with books.”

Container Captain Kodjo Gagnon said, “My beloved and late father, Komi Gagnon (pictured at right), was one of the best fathers in the world. He loved us. He dedicated his life for us, his children, to be successful. He sold his valuables to send us to school. I used to attend middle school in a nearby village. When he had no money to give to me, he would wake me up Monday morning around 4 a.m. and walk with me to the village. He would go to his friends to get some money for me by the time I came back from school at noon. That was when I would eat something. If the day was good, he would give me some money and return back home. I would stay there for the whole week. He never attended school, but he did not want us to be like him. He wanted us to be educated and successful. Everybody knew him for his dedication to send his children to school. Two of my elder brothers got their Masters in law and myself in accounting after his passing... I miss my father. I will never forget him. He is my reference.”

Evangelina S. Opoku-Nyarko, a student at Gordon College in Massachussetts, wrote about her father, friend of BFA Pastor Francis Opoku (pictured at left): "Just this past week, in a conversation with my roommate, a book series we were mutually obsessed with as kids came up and we both started listing which books in the series we had read. She mentioned how she begged people for those books To which I responded with, “Oh, I had the whole collection!” Reflecting on this, I thought to myself, “How could I have afforded this whole collection if not for my father’s connection with Books For Africa?

Now as a college student I have to buy my own books. My friends think I’m crazy that I choose to buy instead of rent. I retreat into my thoughts and begin questioning how in the world my father did it. The question of how we afforded all those books is answered, his alliance with Books For Africa. But how did he even hear, and get connected with an organization from way across the ocean? Did he spend hours on his computer googling 'Organization that donates free books to Africa,' like I search for scholarships? Did someone connect him? Whichever way it happened, it only says one thing about this man I call father — He is a man who loves the Lord, loves what he is called to do, is passionate about helping to improve the lives of his people, especially young people, and is dedicated to putting every effort he can to make it work. And I love him!"

Charlie Cogan, a member of BFA’s board, pictured at right with his son, Pascal Bomane Cogan, after a soccer game in Northfield, Minnesota, wrote, “His mother, Nalongue, attended a primary school in northern Togo where only the teacher had the textbook. We support Books For Africa so that Pascal’s cousins in Togo can have access to the books that they will need to gain a strong educational foundation and work to build a better future for Togo. Pascal's mother, Nalongue, has started a non-profit organization, Friends of College Monfant, to support her old school in Togo, where she received a full scholarship to study as a child since her mother had died and her father became blind after her death. College Monfant will soon benefit from a BFA shipment to Togo, one of many schools that will be strengthened. One of the great strengths of BFA is its strong connections to the African community in the USA. It provides a platform for the African diaspora to help the homeland, and so much more!"

BFA book recipient Nii Clottey, a Lecturer at the University For Development Studies in Navrongo, Ghana, (pictured at left) said: "Growing up as child, books were gifts from my mother on almost all occasions, especially my birthday. Therefore as a father of four lovely girls, I have purposed in my heart to get a book or two for each of them on monthly basis. For this matter I always buy them a box of books anytime I get the opportunity. I have really enjoyed this adventure with my girls. The eldest, who turns 10 years this October, has read over 500 books according to her record. We read, discuss and follow it with Q&A sessions at the weekends and this has bonded the family together so much that when I travel out of town, they will call to tell me stories they have read.

Doing this is not easy, especially in the beginning for me as a Lecturer in the university because of my work schedule and load but with determination to build on what my mother, who is now a retired educator, started, I plucked up the courage to do same and even better for my children. With that determination, reading is now fun in the house and it is no longer seen as a task but it has become a culture in the house such that a stranger can easily be identified in our home."