READ Global Blog - The Library Log: On Proverty and Education in Rural Asia

Published: Tuesday, 09 September 2014

Women at READ Center

This article originally appeared at Beyond Access. READ Global and IREX are both collaborators of the Beyond Access initiative.

As the starting point for access to information, opportunity and advancement, literacy is understandably a key priority for governments and organizations across the development spectrum. So, with more than 230,000 public libraries in developing countries around the world — institutions historically devoted to access to reading materials — it’s confounding that libraries are usually left out of systematic literacy efforts. This is a huge missed opportunity.

Published: Monday, 08 September 2014


“My parents are farmers. They don’t know how to read and write,” said 10-year-old Thinley Pelzom, from rural Bhutan. Growing up in this extremely remote Himalayan Kingdom, access to education is limited for villagers like her: 36% of public schools are not accessible by road, and around half of Bhutanese adults are illiterate.

On Sept. 8, International Literacy Day, we invite you to join us in celebrating the people around the world who are learning to read, regardless of their age.

Published: Wednesday, 03 September 2014

Gathering for Celebration of Full Literacy

“At last, I can write my name and address!” says Subhagya Mahato, a 40-year-old woman from Bacchauli, Nepal, who is happy to finally be able to recognize the Nepali alphabet, and to no longer have to use her fingerprint as a signature.

In a country with an overall literacy rate of only 60% (less than 50% for women), rural communities often have the largest populations of people who cannot read and write. But Nepal is committed to eradicating illiteracy by bringing communities together in the desire to learn to read through the Literate Nepal Campaign.

Published: Thursday, 28 August 2014

Launch of the Women's Health Manual in Bhutan

With limited health education available to them, many women in Bhutan do not know basic health and hygiene skills. Some health issues are taught in schools, such as hand washing and cleanliness, but subjects like menstrual health are never part of the school curriculum. Furthermore, 55% of women are illiterate and never attended school, and others dropped out of school very early, never completing primary or lower secondary school.

Published: Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Shannon with Fulbari Center women

In 2014, READ Global staff member Shannon Kimball visited Nepal to see READ’s work for the first time. Below she writes about the READ Center that inspired her the most.

As I approached the Fulbari READ Center, a dozen women rushed me inside. I had learned to handle the heat in Nepal’s Terai region—which was about 100 degrees in the shade—but the dust storm was another thing entirely. The smiling faces inside told me that the Center wasn't just a haven for me.