Tag Archives: literacy

How Can Reading Help a New Country?

How can reading help a new nation? Photo courtesy of UNESCO/E.Abramson

A very rare thing will happen today: A new nation will be born as Southern Sudan secedes from war-torn Sudan.  The poverty and living conditions of the region are difficult for those in the developed world to comprehend.  A recent study by the United Nations indicates that South Sudan has the lowest primary school enrollment in the world.  Only 8% of the new nation’s women are literate, and teenage girls are more likely to die giving birth than to finish school.

Unbelievable.

According to the World Education Blog, UNESCO and the UK Department for International Development are targeting education as the keystone to building a new future for South Sudan.  The story indicates that schools and school children were the deliberate target of attacks throughout the war in Sudan; officials hope that a focus on education is the best route to undoing the damage.

I agree.  An educated, reading populace is the best route to building a flourishing, stable state for the long-term.  An informed public, one that reads history and learns from the struggles of its predecessors, is best situated to avoid the pitfalls of new-nation status.

I will leave the particulars of exactly how to build an education system within South Sudan to the development experts.  However, GoneReading is committed to its mission of funding library construction and literacy programs in the developing world.  We’re a start-up organization ourselves, but in the long-run we hope to play a prominent role in the rebuilding of South Sudan.  Non-profits seeking funding for such work should email us at libraryfunding@gonereading.com.

I would like to know your thoughts.  How can reading help a new country?  Join the conversation by commenting below.

Feel free to read more on the situation in South Sudan.

Sincerely,

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/

P.S.  Please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission!

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Baby Products: Coming Soon (With Your Help!)

As you may or may not know, GoneReading’s philanthropic mission is to enable readers worldwide by funding the construction of libraries and other literacy programs in the developing world.  In fact, we donate 100% of our profits to such programs.

Rather than asking for donations, we generate these profits through the sale of our reading lifestyle merchandise, designed exclusively for book lovers and readers like yourself.  We encourage you to check out GoneReading’s Online Store.


And now we’re thrilled to announce that GoneReading will soon extend its gift and merchandise offering to include a line of baby products.  Yes, we want to turn your babies into book lovers!

Included in the lineup will be baby hats, onesies, bibs and blankets, each available in a wide variety of colors and sizes (samples displayed above).

Your Creativity Needed

BUT, we need your help in developing new “headlines” and “slogans” for our new baby product lineup.  Have a cute idea?  Post them as a comment below, on our Facebook page, or send them via email to babyideas@gonereading.com.  If we decide to use your idea we will gladly send you any free item of your choosing from our online store!

So put your thinking caps on and send us those ideas.  As always, we appreciate your time!

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/

P.S.  Please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission!


Can Our Libraries Learn From the Developing World?

In Western society we tend to think we’ve got everything figured out, at least in relation to the developing world.  When it comes to funding libraries, that’s not exactly the case.

Eager young readers spend their Saturday in this rural village library in Nepal.

It won’t surprise readers to learn that many public libraries in the United States are fighting to protect their funding.  Book lovers will want to read more about the struggle for funding here.  The article points out that the library system in the U.S. was largely created by Andrew Carnegie through his massive philanthropic investments almost 100 years ago.

Carnegie helped build the library infrastructure, but the on-going operating costs – librarian salaries, new book purchases, utilities, etc. – of these libraries has been funded through tax dollars.  The scarcity of tax dollars now threatens many of those same libraries that Carnegie helped build.

As I learned during my recent trip to India and Nepal, however, there’s a much more sustainable model for library development.  Non-profit READ Global has spent the last 20 years helping to launch dozens of self-sufficient libraries in the poorest regions of the world.  Sounds counter-intuitive, right?

READ makes a significant investment to help launch and build each library.  However, at the same time it also helps the local community launch a grassroots business, with all profits going to fund 100% of each library’s costs moving forward.  Each such enterprise provides jobs and a needed service, creating a new cycle of economic growth in these tiny villages.

My wife Eileen greets the local textile workers in the READ library in Geejgarh, India. Their work funds the local library's operating expenses.

While visiting one such library in the rural hamlet of Geejgarh, India we met the staff of a mini textile factory operated within the local library.  Incredibly, they had just signed a contract with a major retailer to manufacture 50,000 cloth bags.  All profits are used to fund the local library’s operating costs in full, often creating a surplus.

While touring such libraries in rural Nepal we rode over a bridge that was actually funded by the local library association.  Yes, READ has created such an incredible model that their local library associations are now funding major community infrastructure projects.  Amazing.

Perhaps READ’s model, successfully tested for 20+ years in dozens of libraries across three countries, can now migrate to the West.

As you might expect, GoneReading has pledged its financial support to READ.  Click here to learn more about READ, and here to buy GoneReading apparel, gifts and merchandise.

P.S.  If you enjoyed this little article, please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission!

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/
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