St. Paul, Minnesota, October 15, 2012 — This year, the Nigeria-based Sir Emeka Offor Foundation sponsored the shipment of five containers of books to The Gambia. That’s 110,000 books for school children as part of Books For Africa’s “Million Books to The Gambia” campaign. (Each container holds about 22,000 books).

Books For Africa, a non-profit organization in St. Paul, Minnesota, is the world’s largest shipper of educational books to Africa.

The Million Books to The Gambia campaign has been spearheaded by a fellow St. Paul-based NGO, Hand in Health. Hand in Health began their work in The Gambia shipping medical textbooks and supplies to the teaching branch of the Sulayman Junkung General Hospital. They have since expanded their work to bring books to 45 schools throughout the West African country, giving 16,665 rural children access to books as they have never had before.

In a unique partnership that began in 2010, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation initiated a plan to sponsor major shipments of books to Nigeria, The Gambia, and a number of other countries across the African continent. In 2010, the Foundation sponsored eight containers to students in Nigeria and in 2011, another 16 containers, a total of about 530,000 books.

The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation has helped Books For Africa ship nearly 640,000 books worth more than $6.5 million to students in Nigeria and The Gambia over the last three years.

“The Sir Emeka Offer Foundation’s sponsorship helped us put those 110,000 books into the hands of Gambian children who are eager to learn,” said Patrick Plonski, executive director of Books For Africa, of the foundation’s support. “We thank the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation for their donation and for their ongoing and extraordinary partnership with Books For Africa.”

Planning is currently under way to distribute an additional 32 containers of books to Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Tom Warth, Books For Africa’s founder, will be meeting with Sir Emeka Offor and his team in Nigeria in October to finalize their plan.

"I am delighted and honored to be able to help the Gambia meet its educational requirement," said Sir Emeka Offor, "When a child learns to read in The Gambia, it's a victory for all of us. I am committed to bringing literacy to every boy and girl, every man and woman in Africa."

Plonski, who recently visited Nigeria, also praised the Foundation’s support for school children in Nigeria. He noted that a 12-year-old student in Southeastern Nigeria named Onyinye said after receiving books at his school: “I am moved by the books donated to my school. It makes me want to visit the school library during free periods to read stories. I wish to continue my education until I get a first degree.”

The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is undertaking a multi-year project to help revitalize education in Nigeria, seeking to equip libraries, schools, and universities throughout Nigeria with high quality computers, textbooks, and library books.

Plonski praised the work of the foundation, saying that he saw first-hand the impact the books were having on the children of Africa and that the foundation and Sir Offor himself had surpassed what they promised to do in sponsoring the shipments and distributing the books.

Plonski said that the foundation’s efforts on behalf of Africa’s children demonstrate that “philanthropy is alive and well in Nigeria and that Nigerians are ready and willing to help themselves.”

Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is a non-governmental philanthropic organization whose founder, Sir Emeka C. Offor, began in the nineties to positively render assistance to the needy in Nigerian society in various ramifications irrespective of tribe, creed, religion, or nation.

Books For Africa has shipped more than 27 million educational and law books to 48 African countries since its founding in 1988.