Volunteer educational trip to Ghana

We all agree that we had a very valuable, eventful and memorable trip which we were lucky to be part of. Spending time in Accra and especially Keta with the schools and students was very useful, insightful and enriching. We were looked after extremely well and always felt included, involved and part of the family and community. We just hope that the trip was as equally rewarding and beneficial for Philomena and her team at the Books2Africa Distribution Office in Ghana.

Reflections

When visiting schools in Ghana, the head teacher’s were always interested in our cause and purpose, they often assumed that we were the directors and creators of Books2Africa. We would explain that we were volunteers, our reasons for visiting Ghana and their particular school and they would always ask for flyers, t-shirts or something to leave them with so they can spread the word, unfortunately we had nothing to pass on. But we would try to direct them towards the website and go through Philomena and the Books2Africa Ghana team if they had any future enquiries.

Only one school out of the ten that we visited had established a library, others stored all of their books in the teacher’s office/staff room on the floor where they seemed to collect dust. I wondered where the books that we donated would go or if they would share the same space. We would donate either a box of 100 or a box of 200, depending on the school, the subjects would mostly be: English, Maths, Science and some novels. The books would never be given directly to children, so in the future would they be allowed to ask for them to read in school or to borrow them etc?

Some schools lacked very basic supplies and in a class of 30 students there were only 3 textbooks, or similarly out of 10 students only 1 had a writing book and a pencil, at most. In hindsight, we could have taken much more stationary supplies to donate to them, such as pens and pencils, in addition to actual books.

We wanted to arrange a small football match with one or two classes, but when arriving none of the schools had a single football to play with. Had we known this, we could have taken one with us from the UK.  

The children were interested and engaged in Ana’s Spanish lessons, where we left posters of what we had taught and we were also able to teach Salsa dancing by playing music through a phone to one class, which the students definitely enjoyed. In terms of teaching, if we had more prior knowledge, we could have prepared better lessons and spent our classroom teaching time more wisely.

Ghana will remain in my heart forever. This trip showed me the value of being happy with so little. Such a great experience discovering a new culture the people were amazing and warm, especially the kids. So when I think about Ghana, a smile comes to my face. My first time in Africa I can say, will be always be memorable. Hoping this has opened the door for future volunteers and our experience can help them to improve our mission. A special thank you to Precious who has always been supportive and because of you this was possible.

Ana Elsa Diaz (International Volunteer from Mexico)     

Ghana and especially Keta, where we spent time working with the local schools, exceeded all of my expectations and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, particularly as it was my first international trip and first visit to Africa. I cannot thank both Solasta Foundation and Books2Africa enough for making everything possible and fulfilling my wish to volunteer abroad. To anybody out there thinking of volunteering or spending some time helping others in a developing country, I wholeheartedly recommend it as it will be an experience and memory that I will never forget!

Rachel Allen (Volunteer from UK)

Lastly, thank you Precious for all of your input and work on making the trip possible. It was one of my favourite visits to Africa and 100% worth all of the fundraising and efforts that went into it. I only wish I could have stayed longer!

Sean Hillman (Volunteer from UK)

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) updates

A quick update about what Books2Africa is doing in response to these uncertain times caused by the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and supporters. Key to this is following government recommendations closely. Thankfully no suspected cases of COVID-19 have been reported amongst our staff and volunteers. Our Processing Centre in Canterbury is still operational and well stocked with the enough books and resources to ship to Africa.

Please read our updates below on steps taken to minimise the risk to staff, volunteers and supporters.

  • Public Book Collections Suspended: Effective today, we are suspending our collection service for book donations by members of the public in the UK. Although this will affect our book donation numbers, it would reduce the workload on our paid staff who continue to work during this difficult period to ensure the charity remains operational. This will be reviewed at the end of Easter on 14th April 2020.

  • Warehouse Volunteering Suspended: Effective today, we are suspending all volunteering work at the Processing Centre in Canterbury. This means all our UK and International Volunteers are no longer allowed to come into the Canterbury site. Although this will affect our processing and sorting capacity, it makes it easier for us to enforce government advise on social distancing and minimise the risk to paid staff who continue to work normal hours, ensuring our charity shop remains operational and shipments to Africa are dispatched. This will be reviewed at the end of Easter on 14th April 2020.

  • Online Volunteering: During this suspension of warehouse volunteering, we will be assigning all our volunteers to our Education Team to work on a variety of fundraising tasks online. To this end, all our International Volunteers are required to attend an online Skype meeting with our Director of Education on Wednesday 25th March at 9:30 am. UK volunteers who would like to join in can also email [email protected] to indicate their interest in order to receive further instructions on joining the meeting.

 

 
Finally a word of encouragement – Do not be afraid, stay safe and continue to have faith that this will soon pass. 
  • The strictest hygiene standards are being followed at our Processing Centre, with hand sanitisers, disinfectant sprays, plastic gloves and posters reminding staff, volunteers and supporters to wash their hands regularly and wipe their work surfaces.

 

  • No contact deliveries: Couriers delivering boxes to the Processing Centre will no longer require you to sign by hand on delivery. Rather, they are advised to enter your initials.

 

  • Drop-offs and tours suspended: From next week, drop-off appointments by members of the public will be suspended until further notice. Until then, staff and volunteers are advised to receive deliveries without contact and avoid giving members of the public tours of the Processing Centre.

 

We appreciate your understanding as the situation evolves and reassure you that we will take necessary steps to ensure your safety whilst trying to also fulfil our charitable objectives. If you need any support or advice, you can send us an email [email protected]

Thank you for your continued support and do subscribe to our coronavirus updates if you want to be remain updated.
Books2Africa UK Team

Shipping and delivering 1 million books every year
involves the following:

Volume
  • 20,000 books fit in 1 x 20ft container
  • 1,000,000 books fit in 50 x 20ft containers
  • 4 x 20ft containers shipped monthly
Costs
  • £5,000 to process, ship and clear each container of 20,000 books
  • £20,000 delivers 4 containers monthly
Fundraising Target
  • 2,000 individuals giving £10 or more monthly, or 50 corporate partners sponsoring 1 container per year. Thank you.

30%

Processing in the UK

30%

Freight from the UK

40%

Clearing and haulage in Africa

Books2Africa is a UK registered charity number 1152599