Somalia: Book Aid International Reaffirms Its Shipment to Africa Educational Trust

In News by Porter Anderson

Following the horrific truck-bomb attack in Mogadishu, the UK’s Book Aid International declares its solidarity with Africa Educational Trust: 11,000 books are to be sent to the region despite the violence.

In the beleaguered city of Mogadishu. Image: Provided by Book Aid International

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘All People Deserve the Opportunity To Learn’
Book Aid officials have announced that they are going ahead with a planned shipment of books to Mogadishu despite the devastating attacks blamed on the al-Shabab extremist group on Saturday, October 14.

In its report this weekend, as carried by The New York Times, the Associated Press places the death toll at some 358, with many more people missing a week after the key incident, a major truck bombing in the Somali capital. According to reports from BBC News‘ Alastair Leithead, it’s possible that the magnitude of the carnage this time may signal a turning point, as red bandanas are now being used to signal citizen fury at the atrocities of these attacks and thousands in the streets shouting for al-Shabab’s downfall.

It is believed that the truck bomb was intended for the airport where many international embassies are located, but it was detonated on a busy street in the city center.

A timely release from Book Aid International and the Africa Educational Trust (AET) clarifies that some 11,000 books are being moved to the region and are scheduled to arrive within six weeks. AET’s office in Mogadishu—reported to have taken heavy damage in the attack—has supported educational exams and curriculum development in Somalia since 2011. Equipment destroyed by the blast in the attack, according to Book Aid officials, “was integral to the running and provision of the secondary school examinations for the region.”

Book Aid, then, is operating in support of AET and anticipates its shipment of thousands of books reaching schools and universities in Mogadishu.

‘The Best Way for People To Improve Their Lives’

In Mogadishu. Image: Provided by Book Aid International

In a prepared statement, Book Aid chief Alison Tweed is quoted, saying, “We were shocked and saddened to hear of the destruction to AET’s offices, but also very relieved that there was no loss of life.

“At Book Aid International, we believe that everyone should have access to books and education. There are few places in the world where the barriers to reading and learning are higher than in Somalia, and we are very proud to be supporting AET’s vital work as well as the efforts of our other partners in Somalia despite the recent violence in Mogadishu.”

And speaking for the Africa Educational Trust, its executive director, Julie Polzerova, is quoted, saying, “AET has been providing education solutions to the people of Somalia since the mid-1990s and we are committed to continue this important work.

“We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to learn and this is the best way for people to improve their lives.

“We support all the people affected by Saturday’s events and applaud our staff who continue to work in difficult conditions. We would also like to express our thanks for all the goodwill and kindness shown to our organization and our people at this time.”

Book Aid International is based in the United Kingdom and cites itself as “the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity.” The program seeks to move at least 1 million books annually to libraries in many countries. To be in touch with this organization, email

Africa Educational Trust is dedicated to educational support for children and adults in Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. its programs are said to reach more than 250,000 people annually, primarily through educational opportunities, including chances at schooling missed by many. To be in touch with this organization, email

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.