Stories from our Libraries


Awo wants to reach university level one day and hopes that more girls will join her in school.

Awo is a student making the most of her education at an AET school in a rural area outside of Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. The eldest of three girls, she was the only child her parents had allowed to go to school, while her two younger sisters stayed at home and looked after their sheep and goats on the dry plains near her village.

Awo has greatly benefited from the use of Donkey Drawn Libraries delivering books to their area. Awo told us that she has committed herself to reading as many books as she can from the mobile library that comes around weekly. She says she has already read all kinds of books ranging from stories about the environment, to basic science and books on social issues and has become one of the leading students with high marks and a good standing in the school community.

Awo has now been able to persuade her parents to allow her two younger sisters to attend school.

Help us achieve our mission to reach children like Awo and her sisters with new books.




Hibo is 12 years old and has benefited from the mobile library in her school since 2010. She is usually the first one in line when the mobile library arrives into her area.

Hibo likes to read English story books which are provided but prefers the booklets written in Somali that were developed by AET.

When asked how she feels when going through the books, Hibo smilingly said: “I enjoy reading, I feel that I am in another wonderful world when I read books. I am happy with the opportunity to improve my education, experiences and awareness of the world around me”.

Hibo’s teacher told us that she is one of the top students in her class and has been nominated as the chairperson of the student union this year. Hibo told us she convinced her parents to send her sisters to school as well and hopes for them to have the same access to reading materials as she has had, in the future.

We would like to continue to extend access to educational textbooks and reading materials, beyond the existing school libraries, by using mobile donkey-drawn services to visit other local schools on a regular basis.



“I believe that this programme can be something amazing for people with disabilities”

Kadar lives in a small village and is one the beneficiaries of AET’s mobile library for disabled people in Somaliland.

“As a reader at the disability mobile library, I am able to read new books. Sitting with my friends, I am able to read every Monday. The mobile library has created relationships that were formed by reading together. These are short times we have together, but have the capability to last a lifetime and at the end of the day, this will bring our community closer.

“I believe that the future of this programme can be something amazing for the promotion of people living with disabilities. For people who may want to come, I would tell them that no matter how crowded the reading place may be, stay light-hearted and bring others a bit of your sunshine because it will go a long way. If you believe in making a difference and having an impact on lives of others you should take the step and opportunity every day to do so. And I believe the disability library outreach project is an astonishing environment to be able to make that difference.”

Help us to continue our support our work in providing opportunities for literacy and learning to people living with disabilities.



Brian spends ever lunchtime in the library

Brian is a 12-year-old pupil in Class 4 of a primary school. He is the third child in a family of four. His English is good which can perhaps be attributed to the time he spends reading! At home, he has some textbooks for the Ugandan syllabus and hopes to follow his brother to secondary school. He told us that he really enjoys science books and that science is his favourite subject in school.

Brian is fortunate to be in a school where the English results are improving. Previously half the children failed their English leaving test, but last year only there was a 95% pass rate!
Brian’s English teacher attributes this to the good quality books available to her pupils.

Support us by ensuring good quality literacy books reach more children like Brian.


Library in South Sudan

“They say there was first a war and then a great hunger and then I was born”

The small elderly population of South Sudan have lived through almost constant civil war since 1962. As a result, the adult and child literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world. This is massively impacting on employment opportunities and preventing this new country from overcoming its violent past.

Despite the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, the Yambio Community Library has been operational since 2013, providing reading programmes to local schools and lending books within the community.

Since the Community Library opened its doors it has lent over 12,500 books to community members.

Every day the library is visited by 75 people who take advantage of the study space and the resources it provides. Over 4,000 have borrowed books as registered users of the library.


IM Lewis Library

On the second anniversary of this death (14 March 2014) AET remembers with great appreciation Professor I M Lewis, who was Chair of the Board of AET Trustees from 1995 to 2005.

During this time he initiated AET’s pioneering education work in fragile states, starting in Somaliland in 1997 and later reaching other parts of Somalia and South Sudan.

The family of Ioan Lewis has generously provided funds for AET to establish a library in Hargeisa in his memory.

The building opened, and this will be the second shipment of books, provided by Bookaid, to reach the library. A computer lab is also being establish within the library. The establishment of the library will be a lasting tribute to the work of an outstanding individual and a very eminent scholar in the field of Somali Studies