Claude and Barbara Mayfield

Claude and Barbara Mayfield spent two decades of their careers in southern Africa (1975-1995), and since then have gone back to explore more each year. They found that many of the schools were in need of books and libraries. It wasn't until 2007-2012, however, while helping rural schools in Zimbabwe with textbooks and early readers, that they got involved with BFA. Realizing that one of their biggest challenges was lack of access to large quantities of books, they partnered with BFA to scale up efforts to establish rural school libraries in Zimbabwe.

They began by helping Pam Shelton pack containers for her Botswana Book Project.  Pam shared some books from her supplies in Botswana to help with the Zimbabwe project - Claude and Barbara personally trucked them over to Zimbabwe! They teamed up with Pilots International to bring in books to BFA in Atlanta (their home town). In Zimbabwe, they teamed up with Rotary Club Of Harare West as their primary partner to provide overall local project management and import duty exemption. Members play key roles, as they are business people with import companies, financial companies, etc. While in the field at rural schools, they developed partnerships with charities (Miracle Missions), community service groups (Children In The Wilderness), conservation groups (African Wildlife Conservation Fund), and businesses (Padenga Holdings) to join their efforts to help schools in their areas by this project bringing library resources (books, steel shelving, solar lighting, teaching aids,etc) and working with them to establish working lighted libraries.

They posted on the BFA Projects Page and developed their own website and social media to catch the attention of potential donors. Funds donors joined in with us as did solar lighting donors (The Bourke Family Foundation), steel shelving donors (The Beit Trust), and other book donors (Book Aid International of UK, Pilots International of USA).

Claude and Barbara have a hand-on style in every aspect of their project. This means that they are not just busy in the U.S., but are frequently traveling all over Zimbabwe to work with partners there to establish good working libraries.

Thus far, their Zambezi Schoolbook Project has shipped 18 forty-foot containers from BFA to Zimbabwe. These are mostly early readers which pack about 70,000 books per container. A total of over one million books have gone into over 200 rural school libraries all around Zimbabwe.

Claude and Barbara are still working on getting this project its next three containers funded for shipping from US government funding sources.  These containers are urgently needed by their project partners in Zimbabwe to continue rural library development.

Claude and Barbara can be reached at the Zambezi Schoolbook Project email: