|Source: Texas A&M|
I loved reading as a child and for the Americans, you remember the NBC commercials “The More You Know…” and “Reading is Fundamental.” And reading is the very basic step in furthering your education.
In Egypt, education and literacy is far below average. Everyone blames the government, but I feel there are basic steps that we could all take in helping this situation. So I contacted Diwan bookstores to propose a reading program for underprivileged youth in Cairo.
As some of you know, I buy books here and there to give to my office girl (age 14) and I also buy classic literature for someone working at my office. Public schools do not provide tools to help free thinking and did you know that even reading something as simplistic as Nancy Drew when you are 11-years old helps you pay attention to detail (the clues to solve the mystery), encourages questions (interviewing potential suspects) and expands vocabulary?
Diwan responded and is more than willing to help start such a program, but I need help. No, I’m not asking for money (you know how I am completely against giving money to any charity because most of the time the money is not allocated properly) – I need ideas to help hone in this program.
The bookstore gets free books as samples or that may be used for promotions from international publishing houses. Diwan is willing to donate these books for this reading project. I need help on how to get the target children (ie bowab children, certain areas and ages).
I cannot have children that can’t read at all, so I would prefer to start with 8-year olds. My Arabic is not good enough to help someone learn how to read. The books will be in Arabic and I’ve requested from Diwan that nothing be based on religion.
Also, I know I have friends in the Publishing industry. Would your company like to help with this program by also donating books? For you teachers, I need your expertise as well. Anyone that has worked at an NGO or other volunteer activities, please throw your advice my way. And above all, if anyone wants to help me – please, the more the merrier.
One way to combat the lack of education is to target children and get them reading. From there, they could be like the 14-year old Malawian who was forced to quit school to help his family farm for money. He went to the library, read about wind turbines and created a wind turbine from trash that helped irrigate his family’s farm. He’s now studying at Dartmouth.
Please share and if you would like to help or just offer advice, please contact me directly.