After ending 2016 with new centers opening in both India and Bhutan, we are thrilled to announce the launch of four more READ Centers in Nepal in the first quarter of 2017, helping us reach a remarkable milestone of 100 READ Centers across South Asia!
Round Up of READ Centers Launched in 2016
In India, at the Kadathatlapalli READ Center in Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, a cheery poster that says “Read More” hangs on a freshly painted wall. Heeding the call, more than 300 excited community members joined READ India and Accenture to inaugurate the center in September 2016. As part of its Skills to Succeed initiative, Accenture partnered with READ India for the past two years to empower 5,000 rural women and adolescent girls by improving their employability and providing access to more livelihood opportunities.
(L) Community members prepare for the opening of the Kadathatlapalli READ Center. (R) Girls in vibrant saris get comfortable at the Children’s Section where books for early readers and educational games and toys are available for everyone.
In Bhutan, READ opened the Panbang Center, officially inaugurated with cultural rituals and a festive celebration in October 2016. To supplement a large grant from a private donor in the US, members of the community co-invested by donating land and a building that was renovated and transformed into a READ Center equipped with furniture, books, a telephone line, computers, and Internet connection (one of the ﬁrst connections in the village accessible to the public).
(L) Children dancing to traditional rhythm to entertain the guests during the inauguration ceremony. (R) Guests at the inauguration view the Panbang READ Center’s Library.
Accelerating into 2017
In partnership with The Beautiful Store Foundation and Samsung, we launched our 100th center in Sindhupalchowk District in Nepal in January 2017. READ began mobilizing in that district by working with the Thokarpa and Indrawati villages to establish Community Safe Spaces after the 2015 earthquakes that destroyed most of the villagers’ homes. At the time, these temporary spaces offered the communities a safe place to gather, access disaster relief, and start to rebuild their lives. Now, with the recent launch of the Thokarpa and Indrawati READ Centers, there is renewed hope and excitement within the communities to persist and continue to rebuild with a vision for an earthquake resilient, sustainable future.
(L) Ribbon cutting at the Thokarpa READ Center inauguration in partnership with Beautiful Store (R) Children playing the newly inaugurated Indrawati READ Center
Additionally, READ Nepal continues to expand their reach in the Terai region (southern part of Nepal that borders India) with the opening of the Bhanu and Janata READ Centers in early February 2017 through funding from a grant from Reach Out To Asia in Qatar. These new Centers will provide much-needed educational resources and will provide a platform for youth development activities
READ Centers continue to bring communities together empowering them to pave their own way toward better futures. Inspired by the community’s enthusiasm for new opportunities, we will only continue to grow.
Pema, 22, an unemployed youth who was forced to drop out of school earlier in life due to financial difficulties, recounts her excitement when she learned that a READ Center was going to open in her village. “I look forward to participating in livelihood skills training programs. I’ve always wanted to read books, and now, I ﬁnally can.”