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Books to Africa

7 January 2013

As we enter this New Year, it's a good time to reflect on the work of one of our key book charities, Book Aid InternationalSupplies much-needed books to developing countries, raising funds from publishers and general public; 'Reverse Book Club' is masterly idea-for just £5 ($10) month you can provide 48 books to go to where they're most needed. WritersServices is a long-term supporter of this organisation, which has done so much to bring books to third world countries, especially in Africa.

From their warehouse in Camberwell, South London, Book Aid International receives and sends out over 500,000 new books each year, which go primarily to 2,000 libraries in 12 countries. The organisation runs projects to train librarians in creating children's corners, and running mobile libraries and health information centres.

Over the last five decades the organisation has sent over 30 million books to libraries worldwide and in recent years it has focused exclusively on Africa, which is the continent with greatest need. It is having a real impact there. In Tanzania, for instance, the head of the library service said that more than 70% of the books in his 46 libraries have been supplied by them. The books sent out to Africa are a mainstay of the schools there and have made a radical difference to educational opportunities for children and young people.

Book Aid is never quite sure what it is going to receive and when, but the vast majority of books are donated by UK publishers. They ask for new books only and individuals are gently discouraged form sending secondhand books to them, as they deal only in new ones.

Book Aid's Reverse Book Club is a truly inspiring idea for reaching the general public. Three books for £6 - and you'll never receive any of them! The organisation has 4,177 individual supporters who are members of the club, the strength of the appeal of which as a donor is knowing that every month you are enabling three books to be sent to Africa.

The organisation also welcomes donations, which are as good a way of supporting it as joining the Reverse Book club and helping more directly and regularly.

Reverse Book Club