Supporters like you made 2019 another brilliant year.
Your support helped to send an astonishing 1,211,423 brand new books to 136 partners in 26 countries, reaching an estimated 25 million readers!
2019 brought a series of book-destroying disasters and your support helped us respond to global events.
When Cyclone Idai devastated schools in Zimbabwe and Malawi and Hurricane Dorian hit The Grand Bahamas, you helped to send brand new children’s and higher education books, enabling learners to continue their education in the face of disaster.
Earlier this year, books arrived in the community of Gasave in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali in our very first Voyager Container Library!
The new library is housed in a repurposed shipping container, placed in a public park in Gasave.
We talked toElizabeth Mujawamariya Johnsonfrom our partner Ineza Foundation to find out more about the new library and the difference it is making for local children.
What is life like in Gasave?
Life in the city is not easy. The inequality is obvious. So here in Gasave, surrounding the library, people are quite wealthy but go down the hill just 500 metres and you will find families living in a six by four metre home. They are labourers, cleaners or sell on the street. Most of them are making maximum two dollars a day.
What is access to books like in Rwanda?
There are not many reading books here in Rwanda. The first public library here in Kigali is maybe seven years old. The government is working hard to supply curriculum books for schools but many people do not have enough income to buy books and there is a need of having extra resources for kids to use.
In order to be educated, if you are not a reader, it is hard.
In order to be educated, if you are not a reader, it is hard. Because whether you’re doing primary, secondary or high school, you need books. It’s part of the puzzle – there’s no way of finishing the puzzle without them.
Why did you decide to do a container library?
As a charity, we are trying to get books into the hands of kids – it is one of our visions. And with a container, if there is any community that has a space [for a container] then we can do a project.
What’s the library like?
It’s made in a 40 foot container and can sit around 50 kids. It’s in the setting of a public park. We transformed it, painted it, made shelves and it’s holding over 5,000 books in English and Kinyarwanda. It’s all covered so that when it rains, people are sheltered. It’s a reading environment that’s really attractive.
It’s a reading environment that’s really attractive.
What changes have you seen since the library came?
When we come here on the weekend, it’s packed. There are so many kids! It showed me that their hearts are just boiling for reading.
Not only are kids coming and really having fun, they are all preparing for the national exams – they go inside and grab some of the books to get additional resources.
. . . their hearts are just boiling for reading.
Before the library was here, after school kids would go home and what do they do? Mum is probably out working, dad is not home and they end up starting bad behaviours cause there are no parents looking after them. But now they’re here reading and socialising.
If there was no library for them, some of them wouldn’t be doing well in school. But they are doing their homework here, using the resources and there is a huge improvement in terms of grade – it goes up because of the resources. So giving them this library allows them to go to the next level so they can be the people they want to be.
Giving them this library allows them to go to the next level so they can be the people they want to be.
What are your hopes for the future of the children of Gasave?
The hope I see for these kids, I want to see them being the ones who are actually publishing books. In Rwanda, there’s not many books because in order to write, you need to read. If you don’t read, you can’t write. So if these kids continue to use this and other libraries, they’ll maybe be publishing their own books in the future. They can become those readers who have the zeal to say ‘I can write a book as well.’
The brand new library in Gasave, Kigali, is housed in a converted 40-foot shipping container, set in a public park in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.
The transformation from container to library included painting eye-catching murals, adding a roof, veranda and outdoor seating in addition to shelves and filling it with over 5,000 brand new books in English and Kinyarwanda.
Rwanda does not have a public library network and many children’s only opportunity to read is often from old books at community libraries and curriculum books in school.
The books in the new Voyager Container Library are a vital new resource and the library is already incredibly popular with local children:
When we come here on the weekend, it’s packed. There are so many kids! They are doing their homework here, using the resources and there is a huge improvement in terms of grade. So giving them this library allows them to go to the next level so they can be the people they want to be.
– Elizabeth M Johnson, Ineza Foundation
The library contains books both for primary and secondary level students, and many pupils are using the library to support their studies:
At school we have books but limited days when we were supposed to read. Now we have this library, I come every day after school. Now I can read so often I will know how to read better and I will now start approaching English books and be able to read English better.
In 2018 we worked with CODE Ethiopia to pilot Book Havens – a new way of creating spaces for children’s reading – in five community libraries in rural and slum areas of Ethiopia.
The project aimed to support the development of the children’s services offered by the community libraries by refurbishing a space in the library for children to use, training staff in working with children and providing brand new printed children’s books and two tablets per library pre-loaded with local content.
Our Book Havens project aims to work with partners to create places where children can read in community-run and informal libraries as well as non-library spaces. The project was also piloted in Nairobi, Kenya. Find out more here.
Increase in child visits
Libraries reported an increase in the number of child visits thanks to the presence of brand new books to explore and a child-friendly space to read them in for the first time.
Libraries are engaging more children in reading
Following the training (attended by two members of staff from each community library) the libraries now offer a range of book-related activities for children. This includes read-alouds, singing, poetry and drawing.
Local schools are making more use of the library
Libraries are now loaning books in bulk to local schools to use in class as well as receiving visits from classes in the Book Haven and running activities for them.
We are delighted to announce that our new film, Reading ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ in The Great Rift Valley has been awarded the EVCOM Clarion Gold Award for Brand Communication.
Winners were announced on 5th September 2019 at London’s Design Museum. Described by the judges as a “bold, beautiful and ambitious idea”, the film conveys the power of books to create imaginative worlds and transform realities.
The EVCOM Clarion Awards focus on the importance of CSR across both the agency and client landscape. They seek out innovation in film in the support of game-changing CSR and educational initiatives – this year, with an emphasis on far-reaching and specifically global impact.
The judging panel commented that Reading ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ was “beautifully shot and composed – with wonderful vocal work…artistically, it played on the contrast between the familiar text and the unfamiliar setting and this proved a dramatically rich and impactful storytelling device.”
Raw London, the creative agency responsible for the production of the film said: “It was born out of a mutual ambition, client and agency together, to truly bring to life the magic of reading. We wanted to create something that would stay with audiences long after they’ve viewed it, so we went for a cinematic style of direction and dramatic storytelling.”
The film follows Pascalia, as she discovers and narrates Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s book Where the Wild Things Are. Pascalia is one of the estimated 24 million people around the world who has beautiful, brand new books to read because of our work. Through breath-taking cinematography, the film captures how books enrich children’s lives – helping them discover stories which stay with them throughout their lives.
On the production of the film, Raw London explained that “featuring a real child – and not an actor – was a creative and practical risk, but she (Pascalia) reminds us that the stories we discover as children never really leave us. She answers the key question that is often asked of Book Aid International about why children need literature – because while we cannot point to one particular thing it changes, stories nevertheless form a significant part of who we become.”
We would like to thank the panel and particularly players of People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting both the making of the film and much of our work supporting readers in Kenya.
Book Aid International has received £1,850,000 to date thanks to its partnership with players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Postcode African Trust.
Reading ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ in The Great Rift Valley has also been shortlisted for the EVCOM Industry Awards which recognises excellence in both craft and communications across the live, screen and digital communities. Winners will be announced on 21st November 2019 during the London Live Awards at BFI Southbank.
Watch our award-winning film here:
All the above photos are HD stills from Reading ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ in the Great Rift Valley, courtesy of Raw London and Book Aid International.
Since 2014, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised an amazing £1,850,000 to support our work. Their support is changing the lives of millions of people around the world through reading.
This week we’ve been celebrating the difference that players’ support is making. Here, we’ve gathered together some of the highlights:
Opening doors to reading for even the most marginalised children
In 2014, players helped open a Children’s’ Corner in Blantyre, Malawi. Today, that library is still opening doors to a world of reading for the children who need books most. Here two street children read during the day. They are unable to attend school, but thanks to players they can still discover books and learn to read.
We thank you for making our library to be beautiful and giving us books.
– Young reader, Blantyre Children’s Corner
Reaching readers across Liberia
In 2017, players enabled us to begin supporting readers across Liberia – and here kids at the Pentecostal Global Mission School show off the books they’re reading as part of a library lesson. When you’ve never held a new book before, a school library is really something to celebrate!
The children love the books so much. They want to borrow them all the time!
– Helena D. Kemokai, Principal, Dominic K. Hena School, Liberia.
Enriching under-resourced classrooms in Ghana
Last year, we expanded our work to Ghana where we’re collaborating with AfriKids – another player supported charity. Here AfriKids staff unpack their very first shipment of books and enjoy exploring the stories that they’ll now be able to use to enrich under-resourced classrooms across northern Ghana.
The books have enabled us to set up mini libraries in 45 schools. Pupils can now borrow books to read. Before, these schools didn’t have reading books.
– Linda, Early Years Project Coordinator, AfriKids.
Enabling people to learn to read at any age
People’s Postcode Lottery players’ support helped establish a library in 60-year-old Florence’s grandson’s school in Kenya. Florence hadn’t had the chance to finish her education and so she had never learned to read. When her grandson started bringing home phonics books, she saw an opportunity. Together with her neighbours, she formed an adult literacy class – and used the books players enabled us to send to learn to read!
Now I can read prices, so I get a fair price when shopping, and I can use a mobile phone!
– Florence, 60, Kenya.
Supporting refugee children in sheltering in Uganda
1.4 million displaced people are sheltering in refugee settlements in Uganda and hundreds of thousands of them are children. Through players’ support, we’re establishing reading spaces in children’s centres and schools in these settlements – providing story books selected to help children process the trauma of what they have been through and training teachers and children’s centre staff in how to lead reading activities and introduce children to the joy of reading.
I like reading the stories in the books with my friends. I also ask for books to read from home and the teacher allows me. Now I know new things.
– Stephen, 13, South Sudanese refugee, Adjumani settlement, Uganda.
We would like to say a huge thank you to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their ongoing support.
The programme created a cupboard library in each school, filled with over 1,000 brand new books to be used in class and for reading for pleasure. For many pupils, this was the first time that they had access to any books beyond their teachers’ text books.Lessons were more interesting and reading books suddenly became fun.
Pupils and teachers from the participating schools tell us more:
Now that each school has story books to enjoy, every class has weekly timetabled library lessons. Pupils are discovering the joy of reading as a result:
“Even sometimes in classes when it’s time for reading they urge you. They say “it’s time for reading now.” They are so happy. They have the urge to read for themselves.”
– Mohamed S. Njai, Teacher, Ansarul Islamic Primary School, Bo.
“I like books like Dressed for the Job because they show us many different clothes for different jobs like ambulance people. Sometimes I go to the library and I take them and I sit and read them. I am very comfortable with the books.”
– Thomas (pictured above), 12, Practising Primary School, Makeni.
This new love for reading has led to a huge increase in book borrowing. Ninety-four percent of pupils are now borrowing books to read at home, compared to only 49% before the project began:
“Reading makes us feel happy. Sometimes when I read my book at home, when I borrow a book from the library my sister helps me know the words that I don’t know how to pronounce.”
“Some of them they come and order us to give them the books, because they want to read.”
– Abu Koroma, Teacher, St Michael’s Primary, Kissy.
Teachers are also using the new books to bring other curriculum subjects to life and make learning fun. Books can be a vital tool in schools where other teaching resources are scarce:
“They make a great impact in our teaching methods. Normally we lack school materials, but the supply of these books have helped us to teach key areas of learning.”
– Edward Abu Sesay, Teacher, Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone Primary School.
“The programme has helped us to know how to use the materials in terms of reading. We even use those materials to teach other subjects; maths, science and so forth.”
– Elizabeth Kumba Sesay, Teacher, Roman Catholic Primary School, Segbweme.
With all this exposure to books, pupils’ reading skills (at their grade level) have improved by an amazing 61%!
“The way they were reading before and the way they are reading now is quite different. They can pronounce the words now.”
– Abu Koroma, Teacher, St Michael’s Primary, Kissy.
“When I am grown up I will remember those books because they helped me a lot. Some English I don’t even know and when I read that book it enables me to know them.”
– Angella, 10, Practising Primary School, Makeni.
The books are also fueling a growing inquisitiveness even outside the classroom:
“There’s a book called Bird Spotter that has encouraged them to find birds. They have put water and seeds in their back yard, because they have seen a little boy in the book doing that. It’s very interesting.”
– Mohamed M. Bangura, Teacher, Ansarul Islamic Primary School, Bo.
“There is a boy who by himself goes out and reads information. Then he comes and tells us the information in assembly. Around the town and the school. We have a ‘Minister of Information’!”
– Abdul Francis Conteh, Head Teacher, St Francis Primary School, Makeni.
Phase one of Inspiring Readers Sierra Leone is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We would like to thank them for their ongoing support.
Grant Thomson, People’s Postcode Lottery’s Corporate Communications Officer, recently joined a team trip to Kenya to see first-hand the difference that players of People’s Postcode Lottery’s support is making for young readers there. Here he shares his experiences.
When I found out that I’d be travelling to Kenya and meeting some of the charities that players support, including Book Aid International, I had no idea what to expect. I already had an understanding of the charity’s mission and work but I knew that experiencing it first-hand would be entirely different. And it really was.
This trip was doubly special as it was not only my first time in Kenya but my first time in Africa.
First up, we travelled to the Mathare slum in Nairobi to visit the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) library Around 100 adults and children from the surrounding area visit this library each day – a huge number!
As well as lending a hand to stamp and catalogue a newly arrived shipment of books, we took part in a class lesson. I put my group reading skills to the test and read a short story to the children of Toto Education Centre, a nearby school that was visiting and then quizzed them on what they had just heard. All of them got the answers correct!
Together, we helped the library staff prepare a Book Aid International Pioneer Book Box. It’s a mini library in an easy to transport box containing around 200 brand new children’s books and information for teachers on how to use the books in lessons. It was later presented to the teachers and pupils of Toto Education Centre.
Later, we toured the new purpose-built Kenya National Library Service (knls) headquarters. Book Aid International works with knls to provide a stock of brand-new books across more than 60 knls network libraries. The shelves have every category of book you could imagine, from bright and colourful children’s titles, to fiction and even medical, research and academic titles – this long-standing partnership is bringing books to communities everywhere.
After that we visited Hope Education Centre in Kibera slum. Here I sat in on a grade five lesson, where the children would each read part of a story, someone else would then re-tell it back to the class and then ask the other students questions.
They too received a Pioneer Book Box – it was an incredible reaction from the school kids, many were keen to get their hands on the books and start reading there and then!
It was hugely surprising to see that libraries are so much more than spaces for accessing books. They are somewhere safe to not only read and learn but to play, sing and come together. The books Book Aid International supply offer adults and children countless opportunities to change and improve their lives.
My highlight was meeting the team at MYSA and hearing how their partnership with Book Aid International is changing the lives of the children and adults not only in Mathare but around Nairobi. The kids were wonderful, engaging and so keen to learn.
I’ve always known that the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is making a significant difference in Britain and beyond but seeing and hearing from some of those who are directly benefiting from players’ support brings this to life.
It’s an experience that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have supported Book Aid International since 2014 and have raised an incredible £1,850,000. A minimum of 32% of every ticket goes to support charities and good causes like ours. We’d like to thank them for their ongoing support.
Between April 2018 and January 2019, we worked in partnership with the Sierra Leone Library Board (SLLB) to launch the first phase of our Inspiring Readers programme in schools in Sierra Leone.
Five SLLB libraries and 25 schools took part and in January 2019 the first phase of the programme came to an end. This report presents the key outcomes and findings from this first phase.
About Inspiring Readers
Inspiring Readers aims to increase opportunities for primary school children to read by bringing brand new books into the classrooms of under resourced schools.
Each participating school receives over 1,000 brand new books, including locally published titles and a cupboard to store them in. School staff also participate in training in library management and bringing books to life in the classroom. In addition, each school is linked to its local library which already has a Children’s Corner. The libraries act as hubs, providing teachers with additional support, extra books and the expertise of a professional librarian.
So far, the programme has launched in Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe. We hope to reach 250,000 primary school children across Africa through the programme by 2020. You learn more about Inspiring Readershere.
Increase in book borrowing
94% of pupils are now borrowing books from school to read at home, compared to only 49% before the project began.
Improvement in pupils’ reading skills
Teachers report a 61% increase in pupils’ ability to read at the level expected by the curriculum.
Pupils are developing a reading habit and this is increasing their confidence in the classroom
Not only are pupils’ literacy skills improving as a result of increased access to books but teachers also report an increase in confidence among pupils in participation in lessons and interest in learning.
Phase one of Inspiring Readers Sierra Leone is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We would like to thank them for their ongoing support.