Can you imagine when you were a child, going to elementary school with no library or no books in your classroom or home? Sounds crazy doesn’t it? How would you learn to read?
Well this is exactly what it’s like for many of the children we serve around the world. Literacy has long been recognized as a key to transforming lives, yet very few paper books exist in many of the VisionTrust programs across Africa (according to UNESCO 50% of schools in Africa have few or no books at all). Printing, shipping, translating, cultural relevance and appropriateness are all barriers to creating traditional libraries.
How do we solve this problem? Believe it or not, wireless technology is moving rapidly into even the farthest reaches of the world.
We are so excited to pilot a new mobile phone reading app and a Kindle eReader program in Tanzania this year. We’re partnering with Worldreader who pairs literacy training with basic technology and the right tools, to create reading revolutions across Africa and other developing countries. Land lines don’t exist nor does consistent electricity in most places, so the only ubiquitous technology is cell phones—old style flip phones at that. Smart phones and other handheld devices are making their way in and this technological explosion is changing lives in several ways. Once unthinkable on-demand communication is leading to improved healthcare, more efficient business practices, safer travel, less fraud, banking services and now even the simplest devices have the potential to greatly improve literacy among people of all ages.
This fall we will deliver 25 Kindles, each with 100 books, sturdy covers, a charging station and most importantly expert training, to our VisionTrust school in Morogoro, Tanzania. This library of 2,500 books combined with solid literacy training will increase reading comprehension and understanding, increase library visits, and increase technology literacy, thus enabling these students and community members to improve their lives.
Our dream is to send 50 Kindles loaded with 5,000 books to Morogoro since the training and travel costs are the same regardless of the number, but we need another $3,500 for 25 more Kindles, 100 books each, and the customs clearance. If you’d like to help, click here and be sure to add “Kindles” to the “cause” line when you donate.