The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed lives around the world, affecting economies, living situations and posing the lingering question: what happens next? One of the major aspects of life affected by the pandemic in all communities is education. According to UNESCO, COVID-19 has directly affected the education of 1.06 billion children worldwide as of July 2020. With school closures and cases continuing to surge, the nature of teaching has been forced to shift considerably. In Africa, different countries are determining how to proceed with precautions to keep students, educators and their families safe while still facilitating education. The Ministry of Education in Senegal, for example, is providing educational aid in the form of online learning and resources. For those who may not have internet access, however, this makes receiving education challenging. Book Aid International, an organization providing books to children across 26 African countries, is seeking to correct this challenge by administering online educational tools as well as resources that do not require an internet connection.

Book Aid International

Book Aid International’s central mission is to provide books to children in poverty. The organization accomplishes this goal by organizing talented staff members and garnering donations for its cause. In 2019, Book Aid International was able to provide 1.2 million books to children across 26 countries. Distributing books to those in poverty allows for educational growth and increased opportunities for the future. Not only does this organization positively impact education, but also the healthcare industry. Through partnerships in 2018 with Elsevier and Elsevier USA, over 154,000 medical textbooks were donated to hospitals and schools to aid students pursuing healthcare careers.

COVID-19 and Book Aid International

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Book Aid International is developing an improved vision for the rest of 2020. The organization is continuing with book distributions in areas where it has established partnerships, but is also working toward providing e-resources to various communities. COVID-19 has forced many schools around the world to shut down completely. Some can provide online learning but in rural countries, online access may not be available to every student. However, in areas that Book Aid International has given aid, teachers can provide students with books donated by the organization, helping to close the gap between those with internet access and those without. With these resources, children can learn to read while schools are closed.

Adapting to a new routine can be difficult, especially for educators who want to aid their pupils. Having a book to read at home can inspire and help children exercise their minds and prepare for returning to school as the global situation continues to develop. While COVID-19 has presented several disruptions to this pursuit, efforts like that of Book Aid International can provide students with the resources they need to succeed at home.

Brooke Young
Photo: Flickr