NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2010 – READ (Rural Education and Development) Global announced today in an onstage ceremony at the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2010 Annual Meeting its Commitment to Action to create educational and economic opportunities for women and adolescent girls in rural communities in Bhutan, India and Nepal. President Bill Clinton made the announcement during a plenary session on Empowering Women and Girls and congratulated Tina Sciabica, executive director of READ Global, onstage.
Through its Women’s Empowerment Centers Initiative, READ Global will build 20 women’s centers within new READ Community Library and Resource Centers by 2014. Within the women’s centers, READ will form self-help groups and provide training, primarily in partnership with other NGOs, to women and adolescent girls on such subjects as legal/human rights, vocational training, education access, ICT skills, literacy and health education. READ Global’s multi-pronged strategy will empower thousands of rural women to work outside the home, become leaders within their communities, raise healthier families and ensure that education is a priority for their own children.
READ expects to directly impact the lives of 16,000 women over the next four years. Subsequently, READ will impact 70,000 family members of these women and 300,000 community members, who will have access to READ centers.
“In the developing countries where READ works, many women have received very little formal education, resulting in staggeringly high female illiteracy rates and lack of access to basic information that can save lives,” said Tina Sciabica, executive director of READ Global. “Providing rural women and adolescent girls with educational resources and vocational training will allow them to gain a livelihood and make more informed choices for their families - choices that will ultimately benefit their entire community.”
READ Global’s approach to empowering girls and women combines education, enterprise and community development. The Women’s Empowerment Centers will also benefit from sustainability projects, for-profit enterprises seeded by READ and paired with a READ Community Library and Resource Center that utilize the skills of the women in the local community. Examples of these enterprises include sewing centers and community radio stations. The sustainability projects will generate personal income for the women as well as provide sustaining revenues for the larger READ community centers. In addition to providing new skills for economic development and empowerment, READ’s Women’s Empowerment Centers Initiative will create a cadre of women leaders in the communities where READ works.
“READ Global is thrilled to formalize its commitment to provide opportunities for women and girls in rural communities in Asia,” said Dr. Antonia Neubauer, founder of READ Global and president of Myths and Mountains, a cultural adventure travel company. “The new Women’s Empowerment Centers will be a place for women to gather with each other, discuss the common issues they face and support each other as they bravely take the steps necessary to build a better life for themselves and their families.”
About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 1,700 commitments valued at $57 billion, which have already improved the lives of 220 million people in more than 170 countries. The 2010 CGI Annual Meeting will take place from September 20-23, 2010, in New York City. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship, MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young leaders from business, government, and civil society. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.