A year to remember
In 2022, we supported new countries, welcomed volunteers and sent more than one million books. In this blog our Chief Executive reflects on the year, and on what lies ahead.
As the year draws to a close, we’re reflecting on everything that made 2022 special. Thanks to our many supporters, we have once again sent over one million brand-new books to over 175 partners around the world in 2022 – and funded the purchase of thousands more locally published books.
I would love to tell you exactly how many books we offered to readers this year, but our last shipment hasn’t left yet! Our operations team is working right up to Christmas to get as many books as possible out the door. They are ably supported by our volunteers, and it was one of the highlights of the year to welcome volunteers once again in 2022.
It is no exaggeration to say that those books are available to millions of readers in over a thousand libraries, schools, refugee camps, hospitals and prisons around the world. But while these numbers matter, it is the individual stories which bring the power of books – and of our work – to life.
Stories like Aaron’s, who used books to become a nurse, Florence’s, who taught her class entirely without books before we began our partnership, and Judith’s, who knows that with books her daughter can build a brighter future.
I want my daughter to keep on reading these books. I remind her how this is her chance to have a good life. She doesn’t have to be blind to the world, like I am.Judith, Malawi
It is stories like these that inspired us to launch our Power of Books strategy, which focuses on creating access to books for more people who face the greatest barriers to reading and learning by 2025.
We’re already realising that strategy with a shipment of over 45,000 books to support readers facing displacement, poverty and marginalisation across Nigeria, a donation of 10,000 books to support Ukrainian refugees and 50,000 books to support our long-standing partners in Ethiopia who are living with civil war.
Every book on those shipments is brand-new thanks to the support of the publishing industry and has been carefully selected to support the community it will reach.
We also began new programmes designed to ignite excitement about reading. Our Community Reading Awards gave grants worth £1,400 to start new reading projects which reached 7,000 people, and our African Story Box programme has introduced 56,000 children in Zimbabwe to stories from near and far.
My view is that the African Story Box project is a brilliant idea. Certainly, books give people the power to change their lives – and so this project will help children be well prepared for life as adults.Virginia, Chairperson International Board on Books for Young People in Zimbabwe.
These successes would have been impossible without the dedication of our team and the work of our partners. We were delighted to begin supporting 55 new partners in 2022, and to welcome a new Royal Patron, Her Majesty The Queen Consort, formerly Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, a new chair, Dr Alice Prochaska and our new International Advisory Board.
Looking forward to 2023, it seems cliché to say that we live in unprecedented times – but we do. Covid continues to cast a shadow, climate change and conflict are driving a global displacement crisis and the rising prices of food and fuel are tipping many into real hardship.
In these challenging times, each book has the power to spark a transformation. With books, the quality of education soars – and children reach their potential. With books, families fighting poverty learn new skills to grow businesses that thrive. With books, a better future feels more achievable than ever.
That is why we are determined to put the power of books into more people’s hands – but we cannot do it alone. I hope that you will be a part of creating a book-rich world next year by helping us in whatever way you can – whether by joining the Reverse Book Club, giving £2 to send a book or talking to your company about making us a charity partner.
Together, we can reach readers around the world.
I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for us to share the power of books in 2022. I wish you all very warm Season’s Greetings, and a very Happy New Year.
Chief Executive, Book Aid International
There are so many ways you can share the power of books with people around the world.
We work with partners to make sure books that will have the biggest impact go where they are needed most.
We work for a world where everyone has the opportunity to read.