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THE REVERSE BOOK CLUB
What is a REVERSE Book Club?
With a normal book club, you send them money, and they send you books. With the Book Aid International reverse book club, you send them money, and they send books to people in the Third World who really need books.
Printing books in quantity, they are averaging a price of £2 per book. The books are sent to libraries and school libraries in a dozen third world countries including the Palestinian Occupied Territories. The money is also used to train librarians in these countries and to pay for donkeys and other transport.
In 2010 the Reverse Book Club sent over half a million books to libraries in schools, universities, refugee camps, prisons, hospitals and orphanages. They supported over 2,000 libraries in 12 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
They provided grants which enabled local partners to purchase 10,000 books, including 6,000 in local languages.
And they supported the training of 145 teachers and librarians.
Working with local librarians in Kenya and Tanzania, there are now six Childrens Corners with scaled down furniture and rugs, bright and interesting children's books, and training for librarians. The project is so successful that more Childrens Corners are being rolled out as you read this.
In Zanzibar the "Library in a Box" scheme was launched. Each set of boxes contains 550 brand new books, and the boxes are carried into classrooms for use. At the end of the day the boxes are locked up until tomorrow. This was trialled in ten schools, and will be extended during the current year to 23 schools in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
In the Book Aid International newsletter, one of the librarian trainers commented that he never expected to go teaching librarianship accompanied by armed body guards with submachine guns - but then he never expected to be training librarians in Somalia.
In Zambia, their local partner FAWEZA started with one truck which carried 2,000 books as a mobile library for 12 schools. They now have three trucks with almost 10,000 books that now reach 42 schools.
In Uganda, where commonly there are 10 children to each book, Book Aid International have purchased a truck, and put nearly 10,000 books in it. It will service eight proimary schools, 100 teachers, and 8,000 students.. In Kenya they are going into Nairobi's slums and setting up two tents in which the children can sit to read books. There are 500,000 children in Nairobi's slums, so there is great need.
The website is www.bookaid.org, and they are also on Facebook. I pay a modest sum each month, which pays for 5 books a month, or 60 books a year. They need regular donation income to help them plan ahead, so even if you have never joined a book club before, join this one!