By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2
Working With Kigali Public LibraryThe charity Book Aid International, based in the UK, has announced plans to expand its work to include providing new books to communities in Rwanda.
According to materials issued to the press, the charity has sent 31,801 books to support readers in libraries, schools, and educational institutions in various parts of the east African nation.
Book Aid points to what it characterizes as “strong economic growth” in recent years, and “a substantial improvement in living standards. This has [contributed to] a two-thirds drop in child mortality and near-universal enrollment in primary education,” the charity reports, citing World Bank Open Data, Rwanda as its source.
Nevertheless, the news materials say, the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2016, has pointed to poverty, reporting that 63 percent of Rwanda’s population lives on less than $1.25 a day.
Without a national library service, Book Aid says, “many communities are unable to access the life-changing opportunities books offer, such as developing skills, starting businesses and enabling lifelong learning.”
Volunteer-run community libraries are expected to be beneficiaries of the Book Aid initiative, therefore, in Rwanda.
In a prepared statement, Alison Tweed, Book Aid International chief executive, is quoted, saying:
“Having visited Rwanda myself and met some of the volunteers who give up their time to run community libraries, I am delighted that we are now working in partnership with the Kigali Public Library to provide brand new books for the users of the community libraries.
“Thanks to the generosity of our partners in the book trade, we can provide brand new books to libraries, schools and further education institutions throughout the country, books which will undoubtedly be a huge boost for readers across Rwanda.”
The initial shipment of books reportedly includes early-learning and children’s books, higher education texts, and medical and healthcare books, along with titles covering technical and vocational skills to support communities’ need to support further education.
Book Aid’s work in Rwanda is being funded by players of People’s Postcard Lottery, which donates 30 percent of sales to charitable organizations.
In May, Blackwell’s named Book Aid International its charity of the year, and is donating proceeds from its plastic bag sales to the organization this year.