July 06, 2022
In recent months, many in our partner communities have been able to safely resume more in-person educational activities. Many educators have welcomed students back to the classroom, and many Room to Read social mobilizers have returned to in-person mentoring sessions. Our country teams have reconnected with local partners during school visits and have found new ways to engage their local communities in our literacy and girls' education programming. We celebrated the opening of a new library in South Africa, organized in-person teacher trainings in Vietnam — the first since 2020 — collaborated with authors and illustrators to create new storybooks in Bangladesh and so much more.
As we close the second quarter of 2022, we're excited to share just a few updates from our colleagues around the world. Dive in below!
Room to Read Bangladesh is developing 10 new storybooks focused on inclusion and social-emotional learning as part of a project funded by the UN’s World Food Programme. In May, our Literacy Program team organized a Writers’ and Illustrators’ Workshop where 10 authors and 10 illustrators developed their stories. Once finalized, printed copies of these books will be distributed to more than 40,000 students in 157 schools across the Ukhiya and Kutubdia subdistricts of Cox’s Bazar.
In May, Room to Read Cambodia organized school visits for representatives from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) so that our MoEYS partners could learn more about the implementation of our Girls’ Education Program. There were 10 delegations from the MoEYS, led by the MoEYS’s head of curriculum development, and several members of Room to Read Cambodia’s management team along with program staff who attended the two-day visit to four secondary schools in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces. The visit focused on effective life skills instruction and delegates discussed opportunities for continued collaboration between Room to Read and the MoEYS — with the goal to further implement life skills education into Cambodia’s education curriculum.
In May, Room to Read India launched a new Girls’ Education Program initiative called “Khel Khel Mein,” or “game package,” with the intent to engage entire households in Room to Read’s life skills curriculum. The game package includes six multi-player games for Girls’ Education Program students in Grade 6 through Grade 11 — one game for each grade level — each designed to educate parents and other household members on the importance of life skills and gender equality and reinforce the agency of young girls. The games are also highly interactive and fun to encourage participation from the entire family!
Since 2005, Room to Read Laos has partnered with the Ministry of Education and Sports to provide support for a five-phase project called “Enhancing the Education of Lao Children.” During the fifth and final phase of the project earlier this year, Room to Read’s Literacy Program supported 71 primary schools across five districts of Luang Prabang province and Vientiane. Additionally, our Girls’ Education Program supported 357 girls in Oudomxay province.
In celebration of the completion of the project, Room to Read and the Ministry of Education and Sports recently hosted closing ceremonies. Attendees included government partners, school principals, teachers, community members, parents and students. A teacher who spoke at a Literacy Program closing event shared that, “before Room to Read came into our community, we each treated our jobs as just a job. With Room to Read’s support, it helped us realize that our jobs are very important to children’s learning ability. Community members became more involved in school activities after they joined our reading events that Room to Read helped to organize. Parents started reading books to their kids more often. Kids like reading and are now able to read from a young age. To see these changes, it is the highlight of my teaching career.”
In April, schools across the Capricorn district of South Africa participated in World Book Day celebrations. Room to Read's Literacy Program staff conducted trainings for school librarians and department heads on library management, library reading activities and literacy instruction. Schools participated in reading competitions organized by the Department of Education, and Room to Read’s Literacy Program team celebrated the opening of a new library in Seleteng Village.
After two years of virtual training, Room to Read Vietnam’s Literacy Program team is excited to resume in-person training sessions. The first in-person training workshop recently took place in Ho Chi Minh City with representatives from the Ministry of Education and Training and 24 teachers who serve as head literacy facilitators for schools across five provinces.
During the five-day training workshop, participants learned how to establish a child-friendly library, how to effectively manage books, how to effectively implement check-out systems and manage other library operations and organize community activities that will support a love and habit of reading in children.
More training workshops will come in different provinces across Vietnam throughout the summer.
In May, Room to Read Tanzania invited government officials from the President's Office and the Ministry for Education, Science and Technology to visit our Literacy Program and Girls’ Education Program schools in the Tanga and Pwani regions to learn more about how Room to Read programs operate. During the visit, officials observed various components of Room to Read’s Literacy Program — instruction sessions, library management operations, library reading activities, which included the use of Literacy Cloud, Room to Read’s digital library. They also observed Girls’ Education Program activities including life skills lessons and group mentoring sessions.
Seeing the effectiveness of the Room to Read approach to literacy and gender equality, officials expressed an interest in implementing Room to Read activities in non-Room to Read schools across all districts. Officials went on to ask regional offices in Tanga and Pwani to identify high skilled teachers who had been trained by Room to Read to be listed as trainers and coaches at both the regional and national level.