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Free Textbooks Initiative

Organized by: Terfa Binda

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Jennifer is 14, her parents are low income earners, who have been struggling. She is a high school student who is attending a public school in Kaduna, Nigeria, and would like to become a doctor. But her dreams are in dire straits. Her parents cannot afford to buy her the books she need to achieve the necessary grades that will qualify her for a place in medical school. Millions of other African school kids like her share the same story and are hoping that you with the help of the One Book for Africa Foundation could change all of that.

Education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and lays a foundation for sustained economic growth. For millions of school kids in sub Saharan Africa, the cost of quality education is high and most can only afford the cost of a high school certificate. But even at this level, the hurdles are many and varied, amongst them are the lack of, or inability to procure learning materials such as textbooks, exercise books, pens etc. Access to internet is almost non-existent even in countries where the use of mobile phones is rampant, the cost of broadband is still grossly prohibitive.

Textbooks, therefore, occupies a unique niche in the educational sector of sub Saharan Africa, due to the inability of many high school students to access other alternatives. Without the textbook, skills, concepts and content required by the curriculum cannot be taught. In the absence of any other widely available sources of information, the textbook also becomes the most important and often the only source of content and pedagogic information for the teacher. Textbooks also forms the sole basis for examination and assessment in many sub Saharan countries which base important school leaving and school promotion examinations entirely on textual recall from an established and prescribed textbook. The textbook thus assumes far wider importance in poorer countries than in more developed countries where there is wider variety and availability of alternative materials, viewpoints and sources.

The One Book for Africa Foundation is a new volunteer based organization, whose major activities are planned and coordinated by University and high school students, seeking to provide a solution to one of Africa’s greatest need – illiteracy. Lack of quality education is behind the dismally high rates of crime, wars, unemployment and poverty in Africa. The One Book for Africa Foundation could help make things better, by sharing and distributing textbooks to many underprivileged African school children who need these books to improve their literacy levels.

For millions of African high school students, and even teachers, whose greatest area of need for textbooks, is in various subjects like science, art, history and business. Many of these school children are orphans or have parents who are either low income earners or unemployed. These various causes have a direct impact on their ability to buy these books by themselves. This inability therefore causes their education to suffer. A poor education mean many of them will not go far before they drop out, when students drop out they fail to get the necessary education required to get a job, so this locks them into a circle of poverty that is difficult to break.

We would like to help to bring an end to this circle by offering them a better chance through your efforts. We intend to buy those books in their official language of learning, English, French, Spanish and Arabic and distribute them free of charge. We’re buying direct from the book publishers at a discount and are working actively with educators in six African countries including, Nigeria, Chad, Benin, Togo, Cameroun and Senegal, who understand the learning curriculum within those countries, and will help us in delivering those books directly to those kids.

Simply stated, we have a goal of buying 6 books each for 1000 African high school students, this translates to 6,000 books. We’re buying each book at the discounted cost of $8.00 each. Additionally, we would like to spend $2.00 to buy some writing pens as well as school bags (those six books are quite a load) for them. So…

- For $8.00 you can buy a textbook for one school child.
- For $48.00 you buy an entire set of books for one school child.
- For $50.00 you buy an entire set of books with pens and a school bag for one school child.

Amazing, your contributions would create the doctors, engineers, architects and innovators of Africa’s tomorrow. Their future is in your hands, we urge you to help make their dreams a reality.


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Terfa Binda

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