READ Global was inspired by a simple wish from a Nepalese trekking guide: to have a library for his village. Dr. Antonia “Toni” Neubauer, a former language teacher and education researcher, had traveled throughout Asia for decades with her adventure travel company Myths and Mountains. Embracing the opportunity to give back to a part of the world that had filled her with so much joy, Toni harnessed her resources and founded Rural Education and Development (READ) Global in 1991 in Nepal.
In 2006, READ Nepal won the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Access to Learning Award (ATLA), given annually to one organization globally in recognition of the innovative efforts to connect people to information. The next year, READ received a Replication Grant from the Foundation to bring its unique and sustainable model to Bhutan and India and expand in all three countries.
Today, READ has global headquarters in San Francisco, local country offices in Bhutan, India and Nepal. More than 2 million people have access to READ Centers and their trainings.