A container with 16,000 books arrived in Cape Coast, Ghana this week as the launch of a historic trade and investment expo dubbed “Wakanda-One, City of Return” is taking place. The books which will benefit students in the country is a collaboration between the African Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit and the St. Paul based Books for Africa, the largest shipper of donated school textbooks to the African continent.
The African Diaspora Development Institute’s mission is to reconnect people of African descent around the world with their roots in Africa.
Books for Africa executive director Patrick Plonksi welcomed the collaboration with the African Diaspora Development Institute was founded and is headed by the former African Union Ambassador to the U.S., Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao. Plonski said in a statement that his organization “hopes to participate in future projects (with ADDI) that will help the students of Africa.”
The effort to get to the books to Ghana was led by Jote Taddese, an Ethiopian immigrant and vice president of engineering at Optum Digital, a UnitedHealth Group Company. Taddese is also a former board president of Books for Africa and has stayed on as its director for diaspora engagement.
Taddese who sits on the African Diaspora Development Institute board which raised the funds for the shipment of the books, said his life experience growing up in Ethiopia is what inspires him to support kids in Africa with books.
“As a person who was raised in Africa and educated in the diaspora, I am a living example of when we put a book in the hands of a child, we not only help fulfill the potential of the child, but also change the impact on the lives of individuals and the global communities that child will touch,” Taddese said.