In 2009, Ready for Reading set out to bring literacy and learning opportunities to the 30,000 children and adults in remote, rural Rwinkwavu. 10 years later we have built an 8,000-sq. ft. Library/Learning Center, stocked with 10,000 books, 50 e-readers and 25 computers and become a country-wide model.
Through our literacy programs over 1,000 adults have learned to read and write.
150 children a day thrive in a book rich learning environment, enjoying story time, games, youth clubs, music and basketball.
Over 600 people have graduated from our computer skills classes.
60 people use our computer lab each day.
National Exams scores have improved from 0% pass rate in 2012 to 90% in 2018.
But numbers only tell part of the story. The ultimate impact is far greater than 1 person learning to read and write. The real measure is what people do with these skills and resources. How has it changed THEIR lives, families, neighbors, peers and the community as a whole.
Empower the Next Generation
65% of Rwanda’s population is under 25. Before Ready for Reading opened the Library, there were no structured out-of-school opportunities for community children and youth to learn and play in a safe supervised environment. Now they are engaged by trained staff in story-time, games, book clubs, music, basketball, e-reader and school enrichment programs; catalysts around youth development.
We believe reading should be part of the fabric of children’s lives so they can grow into life-long readers and learners. Our Harmony Preschool Forty children per year are thriving in a book rich, hands-on learning environment and we incorporate our early childhood curriculum into all our children’s and youth library activities and programs.
Between 2008 and 2010 not a single student in neighboring Nkondo Primary School passed the national exams required for admission into secondary school. Our School Enrichment Program is changing these abysmal results . We work with Primary 4, 5 and 6 students helping them master English, IT and curriculum leading to an 90% pass rate.
We are transforming young lives through core values that promote the importance of education and discipline and develop valuable life skills necessary to reverse the cycles of poverty, disease and violence so many were born into.
For many illiterate adults, the shame they feel keeps them from getting the help they need. But they are inspired to enroll in our literacy classes as they see the positive changes our programs have made in their children’s academics, reading skills and behaviors and see neighbors getting jobs as community health workers, starting up small businesses prospering as members of women’s co-ops and micro-finance initiatives.
All because they can read and write.
Girls and Women
Out of a population of almost 13 million in Rwanda, 51% are women and in the Parliament 54 out of 80 seats are held by women. Though many occupy important positions in Government and business, their rural counterparts still struggle for gender equity, they receive less formal education than boys and their skills and abilities often go unrecognized.
Ready for Reading invests in girls and women with programs that address this opportunity gap. Our Girls LitClubs build confidence so girls finish secondary school, a direct link to delayed marriage and pregnancy, become peer mentors and the next generation of leaders in their communities.
Through literacy and IT classes (over half comprise of women), Mom’s Clubs, music and basketball, women build social networks, form loan groups to share their knowledge and business skills, support one another and the rising generation of girls.
In a country increasingly relying on women, attitudes are changing, old beliefs are being cast aside and women are assuming leadership roles in their households and communities AND playing basketball!
Portal to the 21st Century
Before Ready for Reading opened the Library/Learning Center, the Rwinkwavu community had no access to computers or Internet services. Without these skills, it is challenging for those in rural Rwanda to break the generational cycle of poverty and compete in the emerging job market, even on a local level. Now, Ready for Reading provides computer skills classes and access to global information in our computer lab.
What it means: people can take short online courses, research job and scholarship opportunities and fill out applications, access agricultural online resources, healthcare material for nursing students at the Rwinkwavu District Hospital, entrepreneurship information for secondary school and University graduates and others looking to start their own business and for personal enrichment. The program is transforming lives as community members gain the skills to make it possible for them to achieve their goals and compete and thrive on a local, national and international level.
Ready for Reading not only provides the fundamentals of reading, writing, computer and life skills; we bring families and communities together as they bond through celebration days, literacy events and activities, music, dance and community performances in our amphitheater and in their schools and villages.