BFA Supporter Brings Thousands of Books to Nigeria

Adetunji (Tunji) Adesesan, who was born in Nigeria, heard about Books For Africa 10 years ago from a long-time BFA supporter when he lived in the Twin Cities and worked at the University of Minnesota. When he moved to the Atlanta area in 2005, he helped start a local nonprofit called Nigeria Connects. It ships books to schools in Nigeria. He re-established his connection to BFA in Atlanta in 2014 and a great partnership was formed. Tunji, as everyone calls him, is now the Director of Nigeria Connects and an Assistant Professor at Reinhardt University, a private university outside Atlanta where he teaches study skills/success strategies. He is also Director of Academic Support.

He is a regular volunteer at the BFA Atlanta warehouse where Nigeria Connects, working with BFA, has helped shipped about 16,500 books to his native Nigeria and Liberia with plans for students in other countries as well.

One of the major projects is to build libraries in prisons, a project called Help Our Prison Education or HOPE. So far 16 libraries have been established in correctional centers in Nigeria and one in Liberia.

“We decided that in prisons the best form of rehabilitation is education,” Tunji said.  “You have to renew their minds, to educate them and help them educate themselves. A lot of them are now getting degrees, working, doing something better with their lives even behind bars.  They learn that they don’t have to be a criminal. These are made possible through donated books from BFA.  Even the correctional officers take home books for their children.”

Tunji has visited recipients of the books in Nigeria.

He described “how elated and happy they are when they see those books. They don’t have them. They want to read books. I can’t explain it. Seeing is believing.”

Tunji said that the books to prisoners have had “a significant impact. We’ve seen lives change. Getting a GED or going to college through these books. So many inmates have graduated using the books. “

And, he added, the libraries are really helping, “a game changer. A lot of the programs didn’t have books. A significant impact. Unbelievable.”

With school starting back up, Tunji will only be able to volunteer at BFA on weekends. He plans to bring students and his four children, ages 14-19.

“Books For Africa is like a second home,” he said.