In South Sudan, thousands of school children can learn only by sharing a single thread bare textbook and hundreds of people have never been encouraged to read, or to escape into the pages of a book. Yet books give people power. They transform how people see themselves, and see the world around them.

At Women Relief Aid we share the power of books and people use that power to create a more equal future. Every year we provide over thousand brand new books to schools, libraries, refugee camps and prisons across South Sudan, creating access to books where the barriers to reading and learning are at their most challenging.  And those challenges have never been greater than they are now.

The pandemic has closed handreds of classrooms in which children were already struggling to learn, with very few books between them. Climate change is impacting communities across the South Sudan. Conflict and displacement are putting countless livelihoods and lives at risk.

A book might seem like a small thing in the fight against inequality but we see every day how a book can spark a transformation. Books light up imaginations and ambitions. They are powerful tools for fighting poverty, improving education, challenging discrimination and building a more equal world for all.

In the places where teachers struggle to encourage children to dream big, where it’s hardest to become a doctor, where there has never been a library before that’s where we are determined to put the power of books in people’s hands. This commitment is at the heart of our new strategy.

By focusing on the people who face the greatest barriers to reading and learning we can take the next step towards a South Sudan where everyone has access to the books that will enrich, improve and change their lives. This strategy is that next step, and I invite you to take it with us.