By Khalifa Hemed
Published November 3, 2017
A British book-donation and library-development charity has donated thousands of new book to Liberia, Africa’s oldest modern republic.
Book Aid International says the more than 23000 books donated by UK publishers are now on their way to Liberia. The books will be used to support education across the country and enrich the lives of thousands of readers.
Originally home to freed African slaves from United States of America, Liberia was devastated by two periods of civil war that raged from 1990 to 1997 and again from 1999 to 2003, leaving an estimated 250000 people dead and 80% of schools destroyed or damaged and most of the country’s teachers fled.
Liberia’s recovery was further impacted by the Ebola outbreak in 2014 in which 4809 people lost their lives. More than 4400 schools were closed for six months during the epidemic leaving 1.5 million children without access to education. Today, Liberia lags behind most other African countries in nearly all education statistics.
“One of the major problems in our Liberian schools is lack of books and this shipment from Book Aid International will really help in meeting that need,” says Michel Weah from the WE-CARE Foundation through which the books have been donated. “Trained teachers and books readily available to the students create an environment where learning is taking place. These will be part of the effort to fill the chronic need for current books that is endemic at all levels of the Liberian school system.”
On her part, Alison Tweed, Book Aid International’s Chief Executive Officer, says, “The need in Liberia is great and we are very pleased to be able to provide thousands of brand new books to support Liberian readers and learners. The books we are providing range from story books which will ignite children’s imaginations to university texts which will help students develop their professional skills, so they will support people from all walks of life. I would like to extend a warm thank you all of the publishers here in the UK who so generously donated the brand new, beautiful books which are currently on their way to Liberia.”
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Book Aid International, that estimates that the books it provides reach 24 million people every year, says it “works with an extensive network of libraries, schools, hospitals, NGOs and other partners to ensure that the books it sends reach as many people as possible” and that it also “runs projects which build the capacity of librarians and teachers to support people and communities.”