"My parents are farmers, they don't know how to read and write," said Thinley Pelzom, from rural Bhutan.
Watch Thinley's story:
Growing up in this extremely remote Himalayan Kingdom, access to education is limited for villagers like Thinley: 36% of public schools are not accessible by road, and around half of Bhutanese adults are illiterate.
Tenth out of eleven siblings, Thinley was in the 3rd grade when she learned about her local READ Center, and like most young girls, she was fascinated by fairy tales.
Yet reading was never taken seriously at home, because her parents were illiterate and couldn't help her learn to read. Thinley grew up not being able to read at the same level as her peers.
When the READ Center opened in Thinley’s village, she would come visit and flip through the pages of children’s books - delighting in every illustration even though she couldn’t read the words.
She decided she would love to be able to read the stories herself one day.
Thinley visited the library every weekend to listen to the stories read out loud to the children by the librarians and elders from the village. When the elders volunteered to share stories and legends passed down from their forefathers, the library was always packed with children and adults alike. She started practicing her reading skills at the library after school, and began to catch up.
Not only can she read to herself now, she reads to her friends and teaches them how to read as well.
Today, Thinley is one of the ‘Junior friends of the Library’, a group of children that help the library organize and conduct activities for children their age in their community. When she grows up, she wants to be a teacher.