Ude, Ugo Anna grew up in Bayelsa and attended a school that had a fine and well-stocked library. It was virtually her second classroom. “I remember joining “waiting lists” to borrow friends’ books and comics to read” she says. Fast forward to when Nigeria was hit by a recession and she couldn’t get textbooks for school, talk more of pleasure reads, she felt like a part of her was stolen. With the COVID-19 pandemic, schools closing down, social distancing laws, bad economic situations, school children were at the receiving end, worse were children with learning disabilities, special needs or those living in educationally disadvantaged areas. Ugo Anna came up with a solution targeted towards school children, she started The Book Drive in June 2020 with just her siblings to get books to children who needed them urgently.
The Book Drive campaign caters for the needs of children without learning materials. It works like an emergency response team, people can call The Book Drive directors in Bayelsa, Rivers, Oyo and Ogun States to nominate children who need books and they get relevant learning materials to them. Although the books The Books Drive give out have been used, they make sure the books fit the child’s school curriculum so they’re useful for study at home or learning in school. The Book Drive solution promotes a sustainable culture by collecting old books instead of throwing them away, killing two birds with one stone.
Months after starting The Book Drive, the number of books given out keeps rising and children who need them get them as soon as they receive calls. In October, volunteers reached out to join the campaign by opening drives in their states and got approved. The State Coordinator for Rivers State, Nengi Obelley Emmanuel is correctly in talks with orphanages to see how to get books to them.
Imaginact wanted her to share some words for young changemakers and she gave us this beauty: “You can never have all the answers. The world and the kids who need you aren’t waiting for you to have all the answers. Start. Ask for help. Get better as you go. Change the world. Be unapologetic about it.” Somehow, these very words represent the ideologies of Imaginact.
Aside from driving change and creating impact at The Book Drive, Ugo Anna is a student of English at the University of Lagos. She’s an African Literature enthusiast, essayist, and sister to a child living with autism. She volunteers, writes and recycles just about anything for fun and to save the planet. She crafts, makes handmade/recycled paper, weave baskets and create fine centerpieces with just about any medium. She also shares book reviews and craft on her well managed page on Instagram @gushing_torrents. She is open for collaborations and can be reached on her Instagram page.