This post is by Judy Lee of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program. Photographs supplied by Street Child, Make Way for Books, and Young African Refugees for Integral Development.
David M. Rubenstein Recipient: Street Child (SC), American Prize Reciepient: Make Way for Books (MWFB), and International Prize Recipient: Young African Refugees for Integral Development (YARID) are the 2022 Top Literacy Awards Prize Winners and the first guests in this year’s Literacy Awards 5-part webinar series.
SC: Street Child believes that being able to read, write, and count is crucial to survival, sustenance, and success, and critical to breaking cycles of poverty. Our programme in Nepal was designed to develop the literacy and numeracy of some of the most marginalised girls and improve their quality of life: 24,000 girls in the Musahar community are in debt bondage and have been excluded from education and employment for centuries. To us this was unacceptable.
MWFB: Make Way for Books was founded in 1998 in Tucson, Arizona. We began by offering literacy workshops and books to six under-resourced preschools. Since that time, we’ve expanded our staff and programs to impact thousands of young children, families, and educators each year through comprehensive professional development programming as well as our two-generation family literacy programming that impacts young children and families who do not have access to high-quality early education before kindergarten.
YARID: That is why we started this program so that we can support these children to integrate into the formal setting.
Why is your literacy program important to the community you serve?
SC: Our literacy programme has meaningfully changed the lives of children and increased individual and collective capabilities. In Nepal, improved literacy and numeracy has increased income earning and capacities for coping. Our girls are safer, with reduced risk of early marriage and motherhood, and exploitation. In the long term, our communities anticipate that improved literacy will lead to increased life opportunities and create more secure, stable countries – enabling equality, equity and freedom for all.
MWFB: Access, empowerment, bilingualism, and cultural-responsivity are foundational to our work. Make Way for Books breaks down barriers – such as cost, transportation, and lack of access to high-quality early education – to ensure children have access to early literacy experiences in the critical birth to 5 years and that the adults in their lives have the skills, strategies, tools, and confidence to support their children’s literacy development and learning.
YARID: The program is important to the community because it has enabled the refugee children to integrate easily into the formal schools, reduced the refugee children dropping out from school because of language and this is because of the difference in the education system.
We have seen exceptional increases in English literacy, language, numeracy, teacher competency, and child well-being – highlighting the incredible holistic impact of this innovation, and its ability to integrate language learning within refugee settings.
Join us for a LIVE discussion with Street Child, Make Way for Books, and the Young African Refugees for Integral Development on December 15, 2022, from 1:00 – 2:30 PM EST. Register here!
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