Plymouth man leads efforts to send 16,000 books to students in Ghana

Students in Ghana received more than 16,000 books last week as part of a collaboration between the African Diaspora Development Institute and Books For Africa, a St. Paul-based nonprofit.

The effort was led by Plymouth resident Jote Taddese, a former Books For Africa board president and a board member of the African Diaspora Development Institute. Taddese is also director of diaspora engagement for Books For Africa and a vice president of engineering at Optum Digital, a United Health Group Company.

The African Diaspora group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, raised the funds for the shipment and Books For Africa provided the books, which are for high school and university students.

“As a person who was raised in Africa and educated in the diaspora, 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 the global communities that child will touch,” Taddese said. “This is my life experience that always inspires me to support kids in Africa with books.”

Taddese was born and raised in Oromia, Ethiopia, and immigrated to the U.S.

The books were delivered this week to Cape Coast in Ghana, just as the ADDI is launching a historic trade and investment expo called “Wakanda-One, City of Return.” The expo will kickoff the development of a modern “smart” city in the location from which millions of Africans were shipped as slaves to the U.S. and elsewhere.

The expo’s objective is “to highlight viable, ready-to-go, opportunities for local businesses and share investment opportunities that will assist in wealth creation.”

The ADDI was created “out of the desire to bring Africa to the world and the world to Africa.”

It seeks to enlist the support of descendants of Africa living in the U.S. and across the globe to help develop Africa’s economy and infrastructure.