Who We Are
Bookfriends International: Building Brighter Futures through Education
Bookfriends International is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to helping educate youth in Africa by providing books, supporting educational materials and services. Most of our book donations come from schools and libraries in the Chicago area. We also accept appropriate, educational book donations from private individuals, used book stores, book clubs and educators. Books and supporting educational materials have been delivered to Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Malawi.
My parents always told me: “If you can read, the world belongs to you!” Books educate! Books make us feel emotions of joy, sadness, curiosity – Books help us travel around the world (without taking a plane!) to discover other countries and their cultures to increase our open-mindedness – Books are life-enhancing – THAT is why Bookfriends mission to help provide books for African students is so vital!
– Melanie G., foreign student to the USA, from France
Bookfriends is a volunteer-run organization. Without having layers of bureaucracy or high office expenses, funds go from wonderful caring people directly to shipping and program expenses. We are always looking for volunteers with a variety of talents wishing to be a part of this team effort, as well as donors to support our ongoing need for shipping funds from Chicago all the way to African villages, schools and libraries.
Everyone can help create a better world through education.
Download our Brochure
Our Mission: We provide fertile learning environments for secondary schools in Africa.
Bookfriends works tirelessly to provide text books to secondary schools in Africa so that the children of those schools will learn and grow in ways otherwise not possible. Due to our donors’ generous support, thousands of secondary school children have been impacted. And, as a result, many thousands more will feel the impact of education in their lives.
– Jen, Crystal Lake IL
Our History: Improving Secondary Education in Tanzania and Beyond with Every Donation & Shipment
Bookfriends was first conceived in 2004, after our founders Steve and Paulie Kutschat returned from a trip to Tanzania. They had seen, first-hand, the intense desire of students to learn and the sorry lack of books in schools and libraries. And so, the mission of improving secondary education in Tanzania was born, but it has reached far beyond the borders of Tanzania and expanded into other regions of Africa. A few hundred textbooks donated by Wauconda, Illinois schools were packaged and shipped in 16 boxes to three secondary schools in Tanzania which the Kutschats had visited.
There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.
– Jacqueline Kennedy
The mission soon grew into the need for more space. Bookfriends moved to two garages and processed the second shipment of 60 boxes of books. Those texts and library books were sent to another three schools to help improve secondary education in Tanzania. Being encouraged through information that those books had arrived safely and had brought joy and hope to the students and teachers, it became obvious that Bookfriends had to find a larger space for year-round work. A warehouse in Wauconda was secured in 2007. Moving to the new space was a huge but very happy task. Bookfriends was assisted in the transfer of all those books and shelving by the Lake Zurich, Illinois Boy Scout Troop and leaders.
Since then Bookfriends has sent complete sets of textbooks and libraries to more than 200 schools. Now, more than 300,000 young hearts and minds have been empowered to face the future with real hope.
We are grateful to our incredible donors and volunteers. Together, we will continue to make a very significant impact in thousands of lives. You might say the history of Bookfriends International is a “living history”.