“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
There are no chairs for the children to sit on. There are no tables for the children to work on. The floor is a smooth, gray cement with a ragged carpet that covers a portion of the floor. There are book shelves. For the most part though, they hold dust—save for one book. It is an old, faded picture book. And still, the children line up outside every day to read the same book they read the day before. They are hungry for more.
One book. One book can transform a child’s life. That is power. Yet, in many places that power does not exist. Children do not know the magic of reading and being transported to a new world through a book. There are places on this planet where parents, grandparents, and even teachers are unable to read to children because there are no books.
Books for Africa is addressing that for underprivileged communities in Africa. Their mission: to end the book famine in Africa. Since its inception, BFA has sent over 36 million books to 49 different countries.
Atomic Data has on-going relationships with Start Reading Now and the American Refugee Committee (which works in Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda) so BFA is an organization and a cause we can get behind. And recently, we did.
In late September a fundraising reception was held for Books for Africa at the Minneapolis home of the former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Sam Kaplan and his wife Sylvia. The event was part of a visit from the son of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, David Robinson, who has lived in Tanzania for over 30 years. At the event, Atomic Data offered to match donations to send a container of books to Tanzania. The offer prompted a number of new pledges from organizations including Thomson Reuters and the Minnesota Twins.
All in all, Books for Africa was able to raise around $50,000 during the events surrounding David Robinson’s visit. Atomic Data’s match offer helped BFA raise the funds to send three containers of books to Tanzania. The containers hold 66,000 books valued at approximately $800,000. The funds raised will also afford BFA the opportunity to print and deliver 3,000 books in Kiswahili, a local language. The containers will be shipped to underprivileged areas of Tanzania including libraries and schools in David Robinson’s community.
“This project was an enormous success generating funds to ship 60 tons of books to poor regions of Tanzania, and great visibility for Books for Africa,” said Patrick Plonski, PhD, Executive Director of Books for Africa. Patrick went on to say Atomic Data’s “very generous offer…directly resulted in two of those containers being shipped.”
Atomic Data is proud to support Books for Africa. As BFA states on their website, education is the great equalizer and at Atomic Data we value education and feel that everyone deserves the chance to learn and lose themselves in a book. We want to help Books for Africa end the book famine.
To learn more about Books for Africa and how you can help send books to those in need, visit http://www.booksforafrica.org/