‘Room to Read’ to provide edn for disadvantaged children

Posted: জানুয়ারি 31, 2009 in Education

‘Room to Read’, an international organisation dedicated to providing education for disadvantaged children, launched its operation in Bangladesh yesterday.

The organisation will work in partnership with local communities to ensure quality education by setting up schools and libraries, publishing literary works for children in Bangla and establishing computer labs.

It currently operates in nine countries — Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Laos, South Africa, Zambia and Bangladesh.

With the slogan ‘World change starts with educated children’, the organisation started its activities in 2000. It is an initiative of John Wood, who worked as Microsoft’s director of development for China before establishing the non-profit organisation.

Educationist Prof Muzaffer Ahmad presided over the launching ceremony while Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique was present as the chief guest.

Chairman of Bishaw Sahitya Kendra Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed, former primary and mass education adviser Rasheda K Chowdhury and Senior Education Advisor of DFID Barbara Payne also spoke as special guests at the launching ceremony at the Spectra Convention Centre in the city.

Polan Sarker of Bausa village in Rajshahi, who dedicated his life to enlightening people through developing their reading habits, described his experiences at the grassroots level.

Other speakers stressed the need to produce user-friendly and easy-to-understand books to further promote reading habits among children.

Since its establishment, the organisation has built 442 schools and over 5,630 libraries, published 226 new children’s books in local languages in the countries of operation, donated over 2.2 million English language books for children, financed 6,922 long-term scholarships for female students and established 155 computer and language labs, officials of the organisation said.

The organisation designs its programmes based on the needs of the country of work.

Room to Read encourages bilingual reading habit in libraries. Libraries established by the organisation usually display books written in English and local language.

The organisation also promotes creative writers and illustrators in the country it operates as source of new content and publishes their work in local languages to distribute throughout the network of Room to Read.

The daily star 01.02.2009

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