Players of People's Postcode Lottery are helping Book Aid International to change lives in Africa through books. Book Aid International became a supported charity in late 2014 and has received £200,000 from players.
Book Aid International believes in the power of reading to help people change their lives. Unfortunately, due to a simple lack of resources, many people are held back from realising their full potential. To help alleviate this problem, Book Aid International works with libraries in Africa, providing up to one million brand-new and carefully selected books each year and providing training for librarians. Through this work, they hope to bring the joy of reading to more and more people every year.
Support from players is already changing lives in Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries. Many libraries in Malawi have no children's book collection, and in a country where over half the population lives on less than $1 a day, books at home are a real rarity.
Thanks to players though, this outlook is changing for thousands of children. Book Aid International has helped to establish six new Children's Corners in Malawi libraries where children can play, read and learn.
The Children's Corners are brightly coloured, with child-sized furniture and have more than 2,500 brand new children's books. Librarians have been trained to engage with children, inspire them to read and set them on a lifelong journey of learning.
Brenda is town of Balaka's librarian, and she has noticed a real change in the local children. "The Children's Corner is very important because it's like a foundation to their futures. When you have a friendly Children's Corner, that means you are developing a world for these children."
Book Aid's work in Malawi isn't their only focus. The charity is always seeking innovative ways to help children discover a love of reading, and they recently launched an exciting project in Uganda to inspire children to read. Over the next two years, 10 libraries will receive 20 e-readers, each preloaded with 200 children's titles. This project is part funded by players and will allow children to enjoy a wide range of books, as well as get to grips with new technology that will set them up for the future.
Finally, support from players has helped the charity increase capacity in its warehouse, and Book Aid International is delighted to have already beaten its distribution target, having sent 650,000 brand new books to African libraries this year. Yeukai Chimuka, a librarian in Zimbabwe, had this to say: "Wherever we distribute Book Aid International books, the feedback is always amazing – reports of improved English language skills, widened knowledge and increased pass rates in schools. Thank you, Book Aid, for a job well done in bringing books to Zimbabwe."