live on less than $2 per day 1
of adult women are illiterate 2
live in rural areas 3
of the labor force is female4
For villagers in rural India, the opportunity to choose a path in life is rare. Poverty tears families apart when people are forced to migrate to urban centers to look for work. Even though India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, 68.72% of Indian people live on less than $2 per day - most of them in rural areas.1 There are more illiterate people in India than in any other country in the world. Rural villagers have very limited access to educational resources due to the poor state of public schools and libraries, making it difficult to break the cycle of poverty. Women are impacted the most. Nearly half of Indian women can’t read, and only 29% participate in the labor force.4 This means that there are hundreds of millions of women in India who could be making an income to support their families-- an incredible untapped resource.
READ expanded to India in 2008 to address the rural imperative. We want to help rural families by focusing our efforts on empowering women and creating access to educational resources. We work in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Manipur, West Bengal and Karnataka. We believe that community library and resource centers give rural villagers a space to not only access knowledge, but to share and create knowledge as well.
Our partner communities in India have chosen for-profit enterprises to sustain their READ Centers that also provide life-changing skills and resources - from a gooseberry processing facility that produces iron-rich juices and candies that reduce anemia, to sewing and weaving businesses where women can earn an income to support their families. READ India is home one of our all-women-operated centers, as well as several women’s savings cooperatives. Read inspiring stories of empowerment from the field in India.