of adults are illiterate 1
live on less than $2 per day 2
live 4+ hours from the nearest all-weather road3
don't have electricity 3
With a population of about 27 million people - more than half living on less than $2 per day - Nepal is one of the poorest nations in the world.2 For more than a third of the rural population, it takes four hours or more to get to the nearest all-weather road.3 This poor infrastructure makes it hard for rural Nepalese to access resources. So while primary education is hypothetically free, 40.9% of adults still can’t read.1 Schools are often inaccessible and have no books for a library or resources for a computer lab, and during the dry season, load shedding causes electricity to be unavailable for up to 16 hours per day.2
READ has its roots in Nepal, where our first office opened in 1991 after a rural villager told our founder that all he wanted for his village was a library. Since then we have opened READ Centers all across the country, offering more than a million rural villagers access to much-needed educational tools and resources, and helping them work towards brighter futures. With our partner communities, we have seeded for-profit enterprises to sustain READ Centers in Nepal that address community needs: from fish farming and turmeric farming to a community radio station.
In 2006, READ Nepal won the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award. This prestigious and competitive award included $1M to further expand READ's sustainable rural development model and extend its capacity to provide information technology resources throughout remote regions of Nepal.
Read inspiring stories of empowerment from the field in Nepal. To learn even more about READ's work in Nepal, check out some great short clips on our Videos page, including a film celebrating READ's 20th anniversary in Nepal.
Learn how you can support our work in Nepal by visiting the READ Nepal campaign page.