Posts Tagged ‘READ Global’

Respond to Banned Books Week – READ

burned book, pages aflame, censorshipWe’re now into the second half of Banned Books Week, when attention is paid to censorship and celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week (BBW) unites the community of librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas.

In the United States, since 1982 when BBW began, there have been official challenges to more than 11,300 books! Some of the most challenged books are the most popular, like recognizable titles of the list toppers of 2013: Fifty Shades of GreyCaptain Underpants, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and The Hunger Games. I, of course, come down on the side of, “If it ain’t your cup of tea, don’t read it…”

In celebration, and some easy defiance of those that would curtail intellectual freedoms, honor banned books by volunteering with a program like READ Global, whose work in Bhutan, Nepal, and India is building and filling libraries for entire communities that were previously book-poor. Since their start in 1991, more than 2.1 million villagers have access to READ centers, and the mission has grown from supporting access to books and supporting literacy, to also taking on broader education issues, economic empowerment, technology, and women’s empowerment. Find out more, and support READ here.

READ Global

READ Global is a pretty amazing organization that started by building and stocking libraries in remote rural villages of the world, and has expanded with the times to really personalize community services in the locations where they work. Places like Bhutan, India, and Nepal—Himalayan villages where education never had a fair shake, but is growing as a priority for the youth as materials and opportunities are provided where there parents and grandparents never had access.

Rather than digest their carefully explained mission and goals, I’ll let their website text speak for itself–you’ll be inspired (hopefully to support them with a donation or with your volunteer work–perhaps even travel to and visit a READ Global project).

Our Approach

Every month, 5 million people flee the poverty of rural villages and head for the city – to find work, to feed their families. The resulting urban overpopulation and squalor impacts all of us—through increased pollution and diminishing resources, the spread of disease, lack of clean water and safe food, and drained economic resources. These problems don’t know borders; they threaten the health of the global community and the strength of the global economy.

Today we face a rural imperative: the urgent need to make rural villages places where families can thrive.

The READ Global Solution

The READ model partners for-profit business enterprises with non-profit Community Library and Resource Centers (READ Centers).  This unique approach allows the local community to sustain the operations of the READ Center over the long-run while creating local jobs.
How READ Works
Enterprise: READ Global works with community members to seed for-profit business enterprises that meet local needs, provide job opportunities and generate sustaining revenues for the READ Center.

Education: READ Global works with communities to fund and build READ Centers that meet the unique needs of each village.  These Centers provide access to books, computers, educational materials, job training, health services and workshops on leadership and conflict resolution. With these resources, individuals and families can learn, grow and reach their full potential.

Prosperity: With a strong emphasis on both education and enterprise, the READ Global solution brings communities together to share ideas and build relationships that enable families and children to stay and thrive in their own communities.

Key to READ’s Success
The READ model enhances rural capabilities, it does not replace them. We work closely and respectfully with local villagers to leverage their assets and talents to meet their specific educational, community, and employment needs.  Villages contribute between 15%-40% of the total cost of the project along with land and labor and READ makes up the rest.  This local ownership of such a community solution is essential to long-term success.