Since 1967, the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Literacy Day has taken place on September 8 to remind the public of the importance of being able to read and write as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance literacy around the world.

And this year this theme — “Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide” is as important as ever.

Bread and Water for Africa® has strived to help bridge the digital divide by provide computers to schools in Kenya, Zambia, and Sierra Leone which have the means – electricity and broadband – to be able to utilize them.

But for more than 20 years we have been shipping tens of thousands of books to sub-Saharan African countries such as Ethiopia and Uganda through our partnership with Books for Africa.

For example, through that partnership, we have shipped 22,000 books which were distributed by our partner in Uganda, Bega kwa Bega (Shoulder to Shoulder), to 177 schools where they benefited an estimated 54,800 students and nearly 2,300 classroom teachers.

Our partner in Ethiopia, Haramaya University sponsors more than 50 high schools with a total attendance of nearly 27,000 students who are eager to get more books.

The books make a huge difference in the lives of these young men and women – just ask Getahum Miliyon, principal of the Haramaya University Model School, one of the best in the country, who reported following our previous shipment that EVERY SINGLE GRADUATING STUDENT passed their university entrance exam, crediting the new textbooks being a major factor in their success.

“This is impossible without the support of Bread and Water for Africa®, he told us.

In addition to providing the books which benefit tens of thousands of students, Bread and Water for Africa® promotes literacy for children in countries program including Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Zambia, and Zimbabwe through our school fee support program enabling hundreds to attend school every year where they learn to read and write, and getting the education they need to become successful, self-sufficient adults.