In 2019 we helped an estimated 19.5 million people around the world gain access to books, sending over 1.2 million books to readers in 26 countries.
This, our 2019 Annual Report, highlights the impact of our work over the past twelve months. We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who generously supported our work in 2019 and who, along with all of us at Book Aid International, believes in the power of books to change lives.
Alison Tweed, Chief Executive
Looking back on 2019 I am acutely aware of a world where, all too often, the impact of the climate emergency on the developing world was overlaid by conflict and growing economic inequality. This saw whole populations displaced: some, as in Cameroon, sheltering in the forest, many others confronted by the realities of forced migration or facing the wreckage of homes and treasured institutions by forces beyond their control.
In all these situations Book Aid International has, with its local partners, been there to offer what access to books can provide: hope and the prospect of transformed lives. Only your support and the generosity of our book donors has made this possible, and for that we are all enormously grateful.
The Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng, Chair
Children & primary
Vocational, technical & business
English language skills
Medicine & healthcare
Reference & Secondary
public & community libraries
primary & secondary schools
|Antigua & Barbuda||1,564|
Crime, illiteracy and teenage pregnancy are all too common in slum communities like Jamestown, one of the poorest districts in Accra, Ghana. Many children end up working on the streets to help their families earn money, rather than attend school.
We increased our support for street children and children living in slum communities in 2019 and provided a total of 10,093 books to our partner Street Children Empowerment Foundation, which they used in their central learning hub and distributed to 15 schools in Accra, Ghana, The books we sent reached children like fourteen-year-old Mary, who uses them to pursue her ambitions of becoming a lawyer.Read more
Many communities in countries around the world lack a library or safe shared space where people can come together to access, read and enjoy books.
In September 2019, we launched our Voyager Container Library programme in Rwanda in partnership with NGO Grace Rwanda. We transformed a disused 40ft shipping container into a thriving community library in Gasave district, Kigali, filling it with over 4,500 books, alongside a grant to buy locally-published books and training for librarians in running reading activities to engage the children using books.Read more
Very few schools in sub-Saharan Africa benefit from a well-stocked library. So, in 2019, we ran three programmes to support the creation of school library resources: Pioneer Book Boxes, Inspiring Readers and Explorer Libraries.
The Pioneer Book Box is especially suitable for situations where education is being delivered outside a formal school building. In Cameroon, thousands of pupils in conflict-affected regions are living in the forest with their parents and cannot attend school. The 30 Pioneer Book Boxes distributed in 2019 offer a simple solution to providing books so that these children can continue their education.Read more
In 2019 87 million people across the world were displaced through conflict, violence or disaster. Young people forced to flee their homes struggled to access any form of education.
Of the 33.900 books that we sent to refugees in 2019, 7,233 books went to support refugees in Southern Europe and 26,167 books were sent to refugees in Africa. We increased support for refugees in Greece, sending books to 17 organisations on the mainland and on Lesvos, sending a total of 7,017 carefully selected books to support their varied programmes.Read more
We are supported by thousands of individuals and organisations who donate books, funds and time so that we can reach readers around the world. We could not do this without the support of UK publishers, our dedicated volunteers and generous donors.
2019 saw another successful year in our long-running partnership with World Book Day and marked an incredible five years of support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
We would like to extend our warmest thanks to each and every one of our supporters.Read more
All Book Aid International’s income is from voluntary donations; we receive no government grants or support. We are supported by individuals who donate through regular and one-off gifts, trusts and corporates that make single and multi-year grants, and schools and community groups that fundraise to support our work.
In 2019, our total income was £20,839,213 of which £2,280,258 was cash income; the in-kind value of the books donated to us by UK publishers was £18,558,955.
Total expenditure was £20,433,566, of which £2,204,100 was cash expenditure and £18,229,466 the in-kind value of the books we donated to partners around the world.
We maintain sufficient unrestricted cash reserves to ensure that we can deliver our planned commitments in the event of unforeseen financial challenges. The minimum level of reserves we must hold is set by our board of Trustees at a range between £500,000 and £550,000. We ended 2019 with £682,058 in free reserves, putting us in a strong position for going into 2020.
We are facing unprecedented challenges: population boom, climate change, displaced communities, global health, environmental protection, technological developments shaping our world as never before. The inevitable economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will make the need for books and reading even more important as the world begins to recover.
The key to meeting so many of the challenges that lie ahead is an educated and an informed global community. Books have a vital role to play in shaping future generations and should be available to all. With the help of all our supporters we will continue our work of sending a wide range of relevant and up-to-date books to our partners around the world. We are just one part of a wide community of people who believe in the power of books to enhance, improve and change lives.
The future of Somaliland is very bright and there is a lot of development going on. So, we say NOW it’s time for Africa. Everybody who supports Book Aid International – the books and the money which you are donating are helping so many. Please continue to support this organisation, which is making a big difference for our country and other countries in Africa!”
Ahmed, Founder, Siilaanyo National Library, Somaliland