Worldreader starts camapign to send 1 million ebooks to Africa
May 24, 2012 | 8:46 am
By Paul Biba
From the press release:
Worldreader (worldreader.org), the non-profit transforming reading in developing countries by distributing digital books to children with limited access to literature, kicked off a campaign today with support from renowned soccer team FC Barcelona (Barça), asking people to help send 1 million e-books to students in sub-Saharan Africa. Using new technology and digital platforms, a $5.00 donation to Worldreader provides students in Africa with access to books that educate and inspire, so they can improve their lives. Donations can be made through millionbooks.worldreader.org.
Having already put more than 100,000 e-books into the hands of 1,000 students in Africa, Worldreader is committed to further increase access to digital books in developing nations. Children in the Worldreader program have access to materials ranging from hundreds of local African textbooks and story-books, world newspapers, and classic literature from around the world. For the first time, students in these areas can read books from African authors like Meshack Asare and Chika Unigwe, experience the imagination of Roald Dahl and the joy of the Magic Tree House stories, and learn from local Ghanaian and Kenyan textbooks. With immediate access to books on health and science students are discovering how to better diagnose, treat and prevent diseases in their communities.
“Worldreader is committed to putting a digital library in the hands of all children throughout the world’s developing countries, and we’re thrilled with the support of FC Barcelona to send 1 million e-books to students in Africa,” said David Risher, CEO and Co-Founder of Worldreader. “Together Worldreader and Barça are connecting students with their heroes to awaken their passion for reading and improve their lives.”
Together Worldreader and Barça hope to use the popularity of the world’s most famous soccer club to inspire students to continue reading. Appealing to the students’ love of Barça, some of the team’s biggest names including Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Eric Abidal and Seydou Keita, send encouraging messages to students inspiring them to read more and “score big.” Students in the Worldreader program receive messages from their favorite soccer heroes beamed directly onto their e-readers.
With plans for continued expansion around the world, Worldreader is already operating throughout sub-Saharan Africa with projects in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda, and soon Rwanda. Beyond granting student access to literature, Worldreader’s unprecedented work also helps provide local authors and publishers access to new markets. The organization works with African publishers and writers to help digitize books and bring their stories to a broader audience. By giving students access to a plethora of books by both local and international authors, Worldreader is changing the way students view the world.
“We’re so excited to be able to give our students the well-deserved opportunity to read a wide variety of classic and cutting edge literature by renowned authors,” said Jacqueline Abiso Dzifa, a teacher at Presbyterian Primary in Kade, Ghana. “Worldreader has not only given us unparalleled access to books, the program has motivated my students and instilled a joy for reading that never existed before.”
A U.S. and Europe-based non-profit social enterprise, Worldreader launched the first iREAD project in Ghana in November 2010. The project was the first pilot study to ever involve classroom use of e-readers in underprivileged areas. Independent monitoring and evaluation done by Worldreader and funded by USAID revealed that primary school students receiving e-readers as part of iREAD increased performance on standardized test scores from 12.9% to 15.7% (depending on whether they received any additional reading support).
Donations can be made at millionbooks.worldreader.org. Donations starting at $5.00 are sufficient for Worldreader to send one e-book to students in Africa. For more information, please visit www.worldreader.org.
Worldreader is a US- and European not-for-profit organization that aims to put a library of digital books within the hands of children across the planet. Founded in 2009 by former Microsoft and Amazon executive David Risher, and former Marketing Director at Barcelona’s ESADE Business School Colin McElwee, Worldreader works with device manufacturers, local and international publishers, governments, education officials, and local communities to bring books to all.