How it all Began
The African Library Project was founded in 2005 by Chris Bradshaw and her family from Portola Valley, California. While visiting remote villages in Lesotho, a small mountainous kingdom in Southern Africa, Chris was inspired to work toward ending the cycle of poverty and illiteracy when she found out that there was only one public library in the country. She realized the simple act of establishing libraries within schools would have a profound effect on communities as a whole.
Our PartnersWe are proud to partner with capable and hardworking organizations and individuals who are dedicated to promoting literacy and library development in Africa. In the United States, volunteers organize book drives and raise funds to ship the books overseas. Once those books are gathered and mailed, the African Library Project relies on a network of dedicated partners within Africa to get them to each community – no matter how far. In addition to selecting and vetting each library recipient, our trusted partners provide training on how to set up and run a library in a rural community. They also follow up to evaluate the use of our libraries and encourage good library practices. The African Library Project’s goal is to make sure our libraries remain active and continue to enrich those who need them the most.
Founder, Uganda LiaisonChris Noel Bradshaw spent her junior year at Fourah Bay College, part of the University of Sierra Leone, studying African religion, law, and literature. She traveled alone through western and central Africa, acquainting herself with African traditions and seeing firsthand the conditions African people endured. She found herself deeply affected and frustrated by the pervasive poverty. Fast-forward to 2004, Chris took her family to Lesotho on a vacation that would change her life. On a pony trekking trip, she watched her son devouring a book and asked their guide if there were any libraries in the country. When he said there might be one in the capital, Chris’ life suddenly took a new direction. “At 21 I didn’t know what I could to do help,” Chris said. “At 54, I had the resources to be able to do something.” That something was the African Library Project.
Anu came to ALP through an extremely rewarding book drive led by a group of 3rd grade girls at her daughter’s school. She is a political scientist at Stanford University, specializing in the study of post-conflict development, democratization, and human rights. She has conducted research in sub-Saharan Africa for the past 20 years and is familiar with the type of communities where ALP creates libraries.
Christina De Simone
Christina graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and minors in Spanish and Chinese. She currently serves as the Director of Financial Planning & Analysis at UNITY Biotechnology. She has six years of experience volunteering with various nonprofits and spent a year abroad in South Africa where she developed a passion for African culture and education.
Marla sees African Library Project as a meaningful way to merge a lifelong love of books with the opportunity to bring literary freedom to children who may not otherwise have access. Having launched a book drive program at her daughter’s K-8 school years ago, Marla witnessed firsthand the magic of bringing together youth and books. She’s a co-founder and former board member of ACE Kids Golf that focuses on at-risk Oakland youth.
Joash S. Aminga
Joash joins ALP Board with huge experience and passion in improving literacy and reading through libraries as key resources in changing lives for over 30+ years in Library and Information Services. Serving as a Deputy Director, Library Services and Vice Chairman of the Association of Government Librarians in Kenya, Joash has continuously supported rural communities in knowledge sharing initiatives. He has BSc degree in Information Management, a Masters of Philosophy, and is currently pursuing a PhD with Kisii University in Library and Information Sciences.
Board Member & South Africa Liaison
Craig’s African journey began as a Peace Corps teacher in Lesotho. He stayed, working on education projects. Later, he joined the U.S. Foreign Service. He spent 36 years in Africa. After retirement, a book drive fell in his lap. Knowing books expand horizons, he shipped a container load to his South African home. Serendipity struck! As he promoted literacy in the community, he met an ALP board member. She invited him to join ALP’s Book Summit in Lesotho. He’s hooked!
Sindy grew up in South Africa and immigrated to the USA in 1991. Her local US library, so much better, was both her “safe space” and a key resource for settling in her new home. Recognizing the ability for books and libraries to change lives, Sindy hopes to bring her 30+ years business experience and love of reading to scale ALP’s mission and create more libraries across Africa.
Karen is an education researcher and leader who is passionate about improving education outcomes for children in Africa and across the globe. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in her 20s living in a remote village in Senegal. She currently serves as Senior Director for Measurement and Evaluation at Imagine Worldwide.
Holder of a B.A. in Modern Literature (Université de la Sorbonne-Nouvelle), Louis is an Alumni of l’Institut des Etudes Politiques de Paris from which he holds an M.A in Finance and Strategy. He joined AXYS in 2012, and spearheaded AXYS Group’s international development. In April 2019, he was appointed Managing Director of AXYS Private. He now occupies the position of Managing Director, Head of Client Coverage and Sustainability.
Kamala is a Data Modeling expert at Citibank with a passion to derive actionable insights from huge volumes of data. She grew up in India with a deep interest to spread the value of literacy across the globe and believes "Education is a basic human right". She is extremely motivated by ALP's commitment to serve the African communities and it's profound impact by nurturing the young minds.
Harry is a high-tech professional at Google, with passion in bringing global teams together to improve user & advertiser experience. Growing up in India, he saw first hand how even a small increase in literacy rate can go a long way in reducing unemployment and poverty. He is very passionate about ALP’s mission of changing lives through literacy in Africa and wants to help them scale to more libraries in more countries.
Nontuthuzelo is a Stakeholder Engagement and Reporting Specialist at a State-owned company in South Africa. She has been the key player in developing systemic social development and innovation around community practice and systemic change; strategic development and the implementation of social impact programmes across South Africa with community-specific solutions design and practices. She is an avid reader and is passionate about literacy and education for young people.
Interim Executive Director
Lauren has worked with organizations for 10+ years and her primary expertise lies in organizational governance, and marketing and communications. She graduated with a bachelor’s in business, specializing in marketing from Hofstra University. As an avid reader, Lauren understands the power and importance of reading a good book and loves that African Library Project is bridging a gap for too many in Africa without the proper library resources.
Brandon comes from a family of readers as his wife, a teacher, and 9yr son are both avid readers. He has come to appreciate the immense value of reading and helping those get that opportunity to experience the joy and passion for it. This what makes him a good addition to the ALP family. Having experience in volunteering overseas as well as attending school for 3yrs in Europe has given him an appreciation for different cultures and experiences outside of the US.
Julie is a lifelong book lover and reader with an interest in Africa. Julie has extensive experience as a communicator and a non-profit executive, including her last full-time role as staff President of the International Association of Business Communicators. Now Julie works on occasional consulting assignments, which gives her time for volunteering and reading with her grandchildren.
Cathy is a former elementary school teacher. On multiple visits to Africa, she saw rural schools with few or no books and is proud to be part of a team that gives the gift of reading by putting books into the hands of African children. In addition to volunteer work, her church and family (which includes five grandchildren) keep Cathy very busy.
Container Manager & Botswana Liaison
Alice is a former elementary school teacher who loves children, books, education, Africa, and recycling - so volunteering for ALP is a perfect match! She has had the privilege of traveling to many countries and through various organizations has helped to provide teachers with training and materials, and children with books and school resources.
Malawi & Sierra Leone Liaison
Following 30+ years in the high-tech world, where she held engineering vice-president and director positions at technology companies such as Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Join Systems, and others, Carolyn retired to become a volunteer in education and mentoring. Carolyn has held board and trustee positions at numerous organizations across the Bay Area and U.S.
Deborah Freedman Lustig
Deborah Freedman Lustig is a cultural anthropologist whose research has focused on gender and education in the United States and Kenya, where she was a high school teacher in the late 80s and a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2004-5. She is currently an Associate Director at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at UC Berkeley.
After experiencing the magic that happens when children and books meet, Claire was thrilled to be introduced to the African Library Project by her daughter Mae and her high school Leo Club. Before earning a MS Teaching Credential at Notre Dame de Namur University, Claire graduated with a BA Hons from Oxford University.
Amy Jo Carson
Amy Jo has been working in humanitarian aid, global health, and community development work both domestically and abroad for approximately 30 years. Her connection to the African Library Project began when she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho from 2010-2012, where she partnered with the Ministry of Education and helped to establish 65 community school libraries.
Container Manager and Ghana Liaison
Pamela’s passion for Africa led to two English Language Fellow assignments: teaching at the Ministry of Justice (Asmara, Eritrea) and the University of Burundi and its Institute of Applied Pedagogy (Bujumbura). She attended Bennington College, graduated from Columbia University, and earned an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from San Francisco State University.
Tracy, a teacher, reading specialist and librarian came to love Africa after being asked to work with teachers there. ALP was a great match when she was looking for ways to help schools in Africa get books for their students. She is thrilled to work with an organization that works to improve literacy by putting books into the hands of students.