Because of the great need for reading materials, a variety of large and small organizations have arranged donations of books to Zimbabwe over the years.
Absolutely exceptional has been the Education Transition Fund (ETF), pledged in 2009 and launched in 2010. This project, supported by 13 countries and administered by UNICEF, has now provided each of the 2.6 million children in Zimbabwean primary schools with textbooks in four key subjects (English, Maths, Science, and a local language). By the beginning of 2012, each secondary school pupil should also have 5-6 textbooks.
Book Aid International (known as the Ranfurly Library Service until 1994) is the largest and most organized distributor of donated books in sub-saharan Africa (about 500,000 books per year), mainly focused on East Africa. Its Zimbabwe program collects new books from UK publishers and individuals and then works with the British Council to send them to Zimbabwe four times a year with funding from the Beit Trust. Requests for books can be made to the Harare Committee or the Bulawayo Committee. A good overview of the range of libraries that BAI helps in Zimbabwe can be had from Rob Sarjant’s blog of his week visiting Zimbabwean libraries in 2010. A major distribution partner of Book Aid International are the Rotary Clubs of Harare.
Biblionef South Africa is the organization that Beit Trust buys its 8 bookpacks (on average 600 books) from each year.
Zimbabwe Reads — Sabre program. Sabre Foundation collects new books from US publishers for international recipients and has distributed almost 3 million books to Africa over the past 20 years. Sabre’s Zimbabwe distributions are coordinated by Zimbabwe Reads. Requests for books can be made by sending the application form to Zimbabwe Reads at firstname.lastname@example.org
US-Africa Children’s Fellowship collects educational materials as part of its US-Zimbabwe school partnerships. Working with the Bulawayo-based Organization of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP), they have distributed 12 containers of books or school supplies to Zimbabwe over the past decade.
World Vision International (WVI) collects a range of health and educational supplies internationally and distributes them through their network across Zimbabwe. Typically, they distribute over 1000 boxes of books in Zimbabwe, mostly to higher educational institutions. In the past, the International Book Bank has sent books to Zimbabwe through World Vision Canada.
See Library Programs for organizations that support libraries across the country.
Mercy Corps shipped a 40-foot container with 21,000 donated books to Goromonzi District, Mutare and Chitungwiza areas of Zimbabwe in 2009. One thousand high-school math books. Hundreds of elementary-level texts on reading drills and language skills as well as university textbooks on science, engineering and economics.
Books for Africa is an US-based organization that has supported many African countries, but with limited activity in Zimbabwe. In 2010, with USAID funding, law libraries and human rights modules were generously provided by Thomson Reuters to the University of Zimbabwe law faculty and a variety of NGOs.
Solon Foundation is a Swiss foundation supporting education in developing countries. In 2009, Solon’s Doug and Carla Funk collected more than 30,000 books in Victoria BC (Canada) to fill a previously empty library in the Zimbabwean village of Nyanga (pictures). Other books were made available to other schools through a “floating library”.
In 2011, the First United Methodist Church of Saline, Michigan collected used children’s books to start two new libraries at primary schools in Zimbabwe. Their goal is to fill a 20-foot shipping container with books — about 500 boxes. Books are coming in from as far away as South Dakota and Ohio. The $8,000 cost for shipping the books is provided by Morris and Ann Taber, retired mission volunteers who sent similar containers three times previously.
Rabbi Moshe Library at Bulawayo’s Vulindledla Youth Centre was opened on 25 July 2011 in the presence of Bulawayo Mayor Councillor T P Moyo and various other dignitaries. Named after Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, Spiritual Leader and CEO of the African Jewish Congress (AJC), it brought to fruition a trans-continental partnership involving the AJC, Australian Books for Children in Africa (ABCA) and the Support Group of Families of Terminally Ill (SGOFOTI).
Bible Society of Zimbabwe has distributed Bibles, HIV /AIDS literature to Chinyaradzo Children’s Home (2010) and Pfudzi Wakanaka Children’s (2008). A total of 5374 Bibles plus family related literature, HIV/aids reader portions have been distributed to Zimbabwean troops since 2009 to date. The Society also distributed 2146 Bibles in the year 2010 mainly to Zimbabwe Republic police recruits.
Sub-Saharan Children’s Hope Trust and Mwana Trust co-founded by Henry Chitsenga and registered in Zimbabwe and UK are looking after HIV/AIDS orphans collecting textbooks, novels, medical resources, educational and medical equipment to be donated to Zimbabwean schools and clinics. The two trusts also monitor projects like the “Prize For Outstanding performance In Maths” sponsored by Henry Chitsenga, “Promise Prize in English” sponsored by Tantra Zawadi, “The Rozvi Award for Academic Achievement in Science” sponsored by Marek Minta, “The Innovation Prize” sponsored by Steophanie Griffin, “The Principles of Leadership, Influencing Life Award” sponsored by Tshombe Sekou ” and “The Science Prize” sponsored by Lewis Faulkner, building a two classroom block at Sabvure Primary School-Nyanga-Zimbabwe and drilling two boreholes at two rural schools in Zimbabwe.
In addition, individual embassies often give out boxes of books with publications from and about their home countries.
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