Our mission at Book Aid International is to give everyone the chance to read, so every year we provide more than one million new books to communities around the world and fund the purchase of thousands of locally published books.
Everything we do is rooted in partnership. Each of our partners tells us what kinds of books readers need, and then receives and processes book shipments. These partners range from national libraries to small NGOs, but they all share our belief in the power of books.
The stories from our partners inspire me every day. They are fighting for better education and equal opportunities for all readers–often with few resources and against seemingly impossible odds. Nowhere is that more true than when conflict destroys lives and puts books out of reach.
The number of forcibly displaced people around the world topped 100 million in 2022. They are fleeing conflict and persecution, and must leave everything behind. Many will be displaced for years, and more are being forced from home every day.
Displaced people face huge barriers to reading and learning, so we work with more than 20 partners who put people fleeing conflict at the heart of their work. With publishers’ support, we’ve provided books to more than 100 refugee camps and settlements, established dozens of refugee school libraries, and given tens of thousands of displaced people the chance to read.
For many more, fleeing isn’t an option. They must try to stay safe and keep learning in the midst of war. Cameroon for example has been gripped by a separatist conflict since 2017. Millions live with daily violence, and schools and libraries have become targets.
While reading spaces have been destroyed, we haven’t stopped working with our partner, EISERVI, to support reading. Our Discovery Book Box provides a mobile “library in a box”. It can be set up wherever children who have fled violence are sheltering and has given thousands of Cameroonian children their only chance to read since the conflict began.
In Syria we have been working with Syria Relief since 2018, most recently by providing higher education texts for university students. The damage from the recent earthquake has been catastrophic. For students like Ahmed who have endured 12 years of war, this is the latest in a long list of tragedies. “For a time there were no schools or universities,” he says. “Now I’m studying at the Computer Technical Institute in Idlib University. This subject is my passion. I dream and aspire to finish my studies in software and work in this field. Despite it all, we’re still asking to learn more. We will keep asking for knowledge. The books are important to me.”
When Syria Relief is ready, with your support we’ll make sure that Ahmed and thousands like him have the books they need.
What you can do
All of the books we send from the U.K. are donated by publishers. Publishers’ generosity makes it possible for me to support our partners worldwide, and the brand-new, up-to-date books you donate are so important to readers who would otherwise be without books.
Every day I receive new requests for books, so we are always eager to hear from publishers, authors, and booksellers who can donate books. We need books of all types–from the latest higher education texts to the simplest picture books.
If you’d like to find out more about our work, visit bookaid.org. We would also love to hear from you directly. You can email our head of operations, Mark Simpson, at email@example.com, or call him on 020 7326 5824.
Giorgia Cerruti is a partnerships manager at Book Aid International.