Blantyre Children's Corner, Malawi

MEDIA RELEASE: £618,102 to open doors to reading for African children

8th June 2017 | News

In 2014 Book Aid International launched its most ambitious appeal to date to mark its 60th anniversary: Open Doors. The charity aimed to raise £600,000 to open 60 Children’s Corners in libraries across sub-Saharan Africa which would offer children inspiring, welcoming places to read. The charity is delighted to announce that the appeal has exceeded its target, with £618,102 raised. That’s enough to complete the 60 Children’s Corners the charity set out to open plus an additional two corners.

Book Aid International’s Children’s Corners programme creates child-friendly spaces which will inspire young readers and help them discover books and develop a life-long love of reading in communities where most families cannot afford to buy books and schools often have only a few old, tattered textbooks. In these circumstances, libraries offer the best opportunity for children to discover books and reading, yet many libraries lack a dedicated space for children or even sufficient children’s books. Librarians also often lack training in how to support young readers.

The charity provides each partner library with a collection of brand new children’s books, funds to refit a space in their library with child-sized furniture, murals and child-friendly book displays, training for librarians in how to support children and a grant to purchase locally published books. The Open Doors appeal is funding 62 Children’s Corners in seven countries: Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The charity’s Chief Executive, Alison Tweed, expressed her gratitude to the donors who gave to the Open Doors appeal:

“Three years ago Open Doors seemed like a huge mountain to climb. We were determined to achieve our goals, but the appeal target of £600,000 was more than we had ever tried to raise for a single project. Exceeding the target was a proud moment for our entire team. We would like to thank the many donors who gave so generously to Open Doors. We are also very grateful to our partners in the UK book trade who gave the brand new books which are at the heart of every Children’s Corner.”

Book Aid International charity extends a particularly warm thank you to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their funding of five Open Doors Children’s Corners in Malawi and five in Zimbabwe.

While the Open Doors appeal may have drawn to a close, the charity will continue to reach more young readers. Book Aid International is already hard at work creating more Children’s Corners and the next are planned for Sierra Leone. The country is still recovering from the devastating Ebola crisis which killed almost 4,000 people and closed schools for a full year. The new Children’s Corners will provide young readers with new opportunities to discover the joy of reading.

To find out more or be a part of the future of Children’s Corners, please visit




For further information and comment please contact Jenny Hayes, Communications Executive at Book Aid International.


t: 020 7326 5801


About Book Aid International

Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity. Every year, the charity ships around one million books to thousands of libraries in communities where people have very few opportunities to access books.

Book Aid International works with an extensive network of libraries, schools, hospitals, NGOs and other partners to ensure that the books it sends reach those who are most in need. In addition, it also run library development projects which build the capacity of librarians to support readers and communities.

The charity only sends books at the request of its library partners. These books are carefully selected by our UK team led by professional librarians to ensure that they the needs of local communities.

All of the books sent by Book Aid International are donated by the UK book trade so they are all new.

Visit for more information or join the conversation on twitter: @book_aid


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