In the spirit of this game, Murder by Death and I agreed that we wanted to support charities working internationally, in countries where reading is still a challenge to many. We looked at charities active in various parts of the world, working in a number of different ways and with different focuses, and eventually chose two that cover a fairly wide array of countries in Africa and Asia, with different approaches, but with the common goal of making books and the ability to read available to everybody, from childhood on.
These are the two we've decided to support on the basis of this game:
Book Aid International
From their website:
"Our mission, vision and values
We believe that books have the power to change lives. This belief underpins our vision, mission and the values which guide everything we do.
Our vision and mission
Our vision is a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.
Our mission is to provide books, resources and training to support an environment in which reading for pleasure, study and lifelong learning can flourish.
Our values inform and guide our work. We are committed to:
Equality of opportunity. Everyone should have the opportunity to read, whatever their circumstances. We support people from all walks of life in their efforts to access the books they need to achieve their goals.
Quality. No-one should have to make do with old, out-of-date books which do not meet their needs. The quality of the books we send is the hallmark of our work.
Investment in the future. Capacity building creates long-term-impact. We help increase the ability of local libraries to support their communities by training librarians and teacher librarians in working with children and other key skills.
Collaboration. Working in partnership ensures that our work is effective, responsive and meets communities’ real needs. We work closely with national library services, NGOs, community library networks, local government and individual institutions.
What we do
We provide books so that people can change their own lives through reading.
The need for our work
Across Africa, millions of people are unable to fulfil their potential because of a basic lack of books and reading resources.
Literacy and access to information have been shown to reduce poverty, providing opportunities for work, increasing household income, even improving the health of children. A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five.
We understand the pleasure and opportunities that reading can bring and we believe everyone should have the opportunity to read. Through reading, people can change their own lives for the better and shape their own futures.
What we do
In places where books are scarce libraries are often the best places for people to discover the joy of reading. By supporting libraries we can provide access to books for millions of people each year.
We supply brand new books, donated by publishers, to public, community and school libraries across Africa. By partnering with national library services, government departments and NGOs we are able to send up to one million brand new, carefully selected books to Africa each year.
With training and skills development librarians can transform their libraries into the heart of their communities. We provide training to develop the skills of librarians for years to come.
Where we work
At present, we are proud to support readers in 14 countries.
OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
Room to Read
From their website:
"We Believe that World Change Starts with Educated Children.
We envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their communities and the world.
Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
When a Child Reads, She Can Write Her Future
Being able to read and write is essential. Written words are gateways to knowledge and opportunity that are only accessible to those with the ability to decipher them. Despite the known benefits of literacy, 175 million young people in low- and lower middle-income countries are unable to read a single sentence. That’s one out of every four children.
Without a strong foundation of literacy skills, children are more likely to struggle throughout their education, live in poverty and see their potential hampered. In the areas where we work, numerous barriers prevent students from developing the literacy skills they need to thrive. These include a lack of educational resources, minimal exposure to age-appropriate books, insufficiently trained teachers and overstretched infrastructure. We evaluate the extent of these main barriers and work in partnership with local governments to assist schools to address the specific challenges they are facing and ensure students have what they need to develop strong literacy skills and a habit of reading.
When Girls Stay in School, Life Improves...for Everyone
Whether or not a girl stays in school has an astounding effect on not only her quality of life, but on her future family’s as well. For a girl in one the most underserved parts of the world, staying in school longer means she is more likely to build a smaller and healthier family, lower her probability of contracting HIV, and earn a higher wage. She is also more likely to marry later and educate her own children — ending the cycle of illiteracy in one generation.
Yet, girls lag behind boys in their completion of secondary school. In the last decade, the world has made significant gains in primary school enrollment but girls in low income countries still drop out at an alarming rate. Out of the 124 million children and young adolescents who are out of school, 52 percent are girls. Girls face serious barriers such as cultural bias and lack of safety. And these challenges can compound as girls transition into secondary school; they include increased school costs, the need to contribute to family income, and pressures to marry and begin a family. Thus, our program includes four core components — life skills, mentors, material support, and community engagement, which we implement based on local conditions, individual need and grade level.
Negotiating a Better Future Through Life Skills
Girls need life skills. Thinking critically, empathizing and relying on themselves help them meet day-to-day challenges and make informed decisions. When girls learn these skills and how to use them daily, they become better equipped to handle the challenges they may face, from gender bias to finding time to study. We help girls to discover their own strength, advocate for themselves, and create a new and different path from the one that might be forced upon them. Our program enables girls to learn and practice life skills through classes, workshops and extracurricular activities.
Sustaining and Scaling Girls' Education Programs
With your support we can scale faster and transform communities across the globe. Together, we have the potential to reach 15 million children by 2020. We invest in girls’ education for long-term, systemic change. That means sustaining our programs for years, if not decades, and scaling them to a country’s need. To these ends, we focus on girls’ transitions into and through secondary school — that’s where the biggest and most permanent gaps in gender equality in education take place. We also collaborate with government officials at the local, regional and national levels to promote girl-friendly learning environments. These partnerships ensure that our program is complementary of national efforts, sustainable and nationally scalable.
Impact & Reach