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Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Representing the 4th District of Minnesota

Honoring the 25th Anniversary of Books for Africa

September 9, 2013
Statements For the Record

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to pay tribute to the staff, board, donors and volunteers of Books for Africa on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of this nonprofit organization based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Since its founding in 1988, Books for Africa has grown into the largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent, having shipped over 27 million books to 48 countries. In 2012 alone, Books for Africa shipped more than 2.2 million books to 22 African countries.

Ending the book famine in Africa is the mission that led Thomas Warth to found Books for Africa. Troubled by a chronic shortage of books in Africa and the reality that 40 percent of school-age children do not attend school, Mr. Warth put his vision and enthusiasm into an ongoing commitment to transform lives by facilitating the shipment of container after container of books that put real books in the hands of real people. By sending textbooks to areas with empty shelves and into the hands of children eager to read, learn, and explore the world of literature, Books for Africa is making a difference in the lives of young people. Books for Africa is promoting literacy, and empowering the next generation to break the endless cycle of poverty that will improve quality of life.

This success would not have been possible without the joint partnership of public and private sectors. Books for Africa frequently works with USAID, Peace Corps and the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation to deliver books. Together with the generous support of publishers, schools, libraries, organizations and individuals who donate books, Books for Africa is making a positive impact in the lives of people in African countries.

Mr. Speaker, in honor of Thomas Warth and the dedicated staff, partners, donors, board and volunteers, I am pleased to submit this statement for the Congressional Record recognizing the 25th Anniversary of Books for Africa.