Four canisters loaded with 30,000 copies of 10 different Barefoot Books titles in Portuguese, with a retail value of $6 million, are scheduled to arrive in Mozambique later this summer after being custom-printed in Hong Kong and shipped from its port. The books will be distributed to AIDS orphans and their caregivers.
This shipment of 300,000 books is part of a new Books for Africa initiative in which the organization will begin publishing some books in local languages for charitable donation through a partnership with a publisher. Typically, BFA sends used book donations to countries in Africa in English, and occasionally French, Spanish, and Arabic.
The books chosen to launch the publishing initiative have African themes and characters, as well as educational notes and other learning materials. They include African Tales, Children of the World, We All Went on Safari, We’re Sailing Down the Nile, and How Loud Is a Lion?
Barefoot Books cofounder and CEO Nancy Traversy, who announced the program at the Corporate Council on Africa Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, in late June, said in a statement. “It has been a privilege and an honor to partner with Books for Africa and COVida [which is administering the program] to get 300,000 books into the hands of orphans and vulnerable children affected by AIDS in Mozambique and to make an impact on so many children’s lives.”
“We’re extremely excited about this project,” noted BFA executive director Patrick Plonski. He pointed out that this is a new way for the organization to create and distribute books, which have been translated from English. “This new model will enable us to provide even more books for children across Africa.”
In addition to the Barefoot titles, BAF is donating 22,000 books, valued at $264,000, to the public library in Beira, Mozambique, which was destroyed in the recent cyclone. Since its founding in 1988, BFA has shipped more than 44 million books to the African continent.
Funding for the inaugural shipment of 300,000 custom-printed Barefoot Books comes from FHI 360, a contractor of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and is part of a five-year multi-million-dollar effort in Mozambique under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The project was planned over the past three years.