Did you know: 66% of the world’s illiterate population lives in Asia?
The Asia Foundation certainly does. In answer to that fact, this non-profit’s Books for Asia programme is launching Storytime in Asia, a month-long campaign that aims to deliver more than 120,000 children’s books to over a thousand schools in Asia, starting on August 13th. The campaign celebrates the role of children’s books in developing reading habits and literacy, and is scheduled to culminate during the week of International Literacy Day with a series of literacy-promoting events around Asia.
Colourful, imaginative children’s books that inspire learning are vital in encouraging early childhood literacy. Unfortunately, many schools and families don’t have access to a wide selection of books or can’t afford to buy them.
Enter Books for Asia. The Storytime in Asia campaign brings together four major children’s book publishers Abrams, Penguin Young Readers, Scholastic, and Little, Brown for Young Readers, who have each pledged a lot of books to the campaign. Scholastic alone has promised 100,000 books to Storytime in Asia.
Since Storytime in Asia will be bringing books to Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Laos, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, you can bet shipping costs will be hefty. But OOCL, a leading container shipping company known for its educational and community efforts, has already promised to underwrite shipping costs.
Books for Asia estimates that two million children will be positively impacted by Storytime in Asia.
A few things you can do to help:
- Donate to the Books for Asia fund
- Organise a book drive for new book donations
- Purchase “book baskets” via the “Choose Books and Change Lives” initiative with San Francisco independent bookstore Green Apple Books.
- Publishers can donate directly to Books for Asia.
- Get people talking about Storytime for Asia! Use the hashtag #StorytimeAsia if you’re on Twitter and like the Asia Foundation’s Facebook page if you use Facebook. You can also visit the campaign website at asiafoundation.org