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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

READ (Rural Education and Development) Global

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, Education, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Libraries, Microfinance, Rural Economic Development

Mission: READ Global believes empowering rural communities is critical to alleviating global poverty. We envision a world where individuals, families and entire communities have access to the knowledge, resources and opportunities necessary to build more prosperous futures. READ partners with communities in rural Asia to create vibrant places to live and thrive. Our proven and replicable model focuses on Community Library and Resource Centers as a vehicle for social and economic transformation. Combining education, enterprise and community development, READ collaborates with rural communities to build these centers and seed for-profit enterprises to ensure long-term maintenance and success.

Results: 2.3 rural villagers have access to READ Centers. 300 villages worldwide are served by READ Centers. 4,500 books, on average, in each READ Center. 97 READ Centers established to date. 130 for-profit enterprises sustain READ Centers. (2016)

Target demographics: Low-income rural communities in South Asia

Direct beneficiaries per year: 4,683 villagers learn livelihood skills, 2,002 villagers learn to read, 1.1 million villagers access the Internet, 1,248 receive computer training, 4,227 receive health training, 2,639 women receive legal rights training, and more

Geographic areas served: Rural South Asia (Bhutan, India and Nepal)

Programs: Literacy, livelihood skills, women's empowerment, information and communications technology (ICT), health, environment, legal rights

Community Stories

56 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been using my expertise in Art as a therapy at Read India past 6 months & have been associated with Read past couple of years to train the rural people in parenting & even empowering them through art. It has been the most satisfying experience & work at Read especially because of its humanistic approach towards their vision. The visits & hard word of the Director & the other leaders, specialists & staff into the most challenging areas of the country to be able help the rural people with education & including them in the society by empowering all age groups is commendable! Each member speaks the language of compassion & concern! The country Director's efforts & guidance makes Read a very knowledgeable place to work with! I wish & pray for their success in their vision!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been associated with READ for six months now. I'm glad I had the opportunity to work with the core team of READ India since I could see the dedication with which the team works towards creating proper livelihood to the rural people. The passion which the team shows in the work is what I have been exposed to and it is very inspiring to work with them. They are also too humble to boast their success stories. Even during my short association with READ I observed lots of parallel programs happening at various community centers and almost all of them were converted into successful programs since the beneficiaries were huge in each of the program.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved in READ Nepal's programs since early 2000 in meetings as well as a library trainer.
I know this institution very well and appreciate its works very much.
Services catered by READ is very appreciable because of community empowerment and participatory involvement of rural people. READ not only establish and run libraries but also organize different humanitarian development activities at the community level.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a volunteer in READ Nepal for six months and during my volunteering time, I had many learning experiences. It was my first time working with local communities and I thank READ Nepal for giving me an opportunity to work as a volunteer. READ Centers are vehicles for community change and development. It was great fun working with READ and I am very proud to be a part of READ.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have recently joined READ Center at Lalitpur Nepal as a part of my Bachelor's final year's internship. I am very impressed with the activities and services provided by the Center. I found READ's working modality unique and awesome as it is creating the positive impact in the lives of rural communities. READ's intervention reaches every part of community irrespective of age, gender, caste and ethnicity and I am happy to see how READ's community libraries is working to bring and engage the whole community in community development initiative. READ's community libraries have changed my perception of library, the READ Libraries are more than libraries, they are indeed the center of community engagement and development. I am proud to be associated with READ Nepal through its Center and in future, I would like to commit my time and creativity in READ's work.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Growing up in Bangladesh, I was always keenly aware of the lifechanging difference education and access to knowledge can make and transform a village, a city, a community - a generation. When I came across READ I was immediately attuned to its mission, vision and commitment to making this difference in South Asia - cemented by my visits to READ centers in Nepal and working with READ's passionate, driven, superbly qualified staff and Board members. What especially makes me incredibly excited about the READ model are the programs for providing locally relevant vocational training and tools for sustainable enterprises that build upon books and internet access in each of these centers.

READ is a truly innovative organization and I'm grateful for the opportunity to work alongside READ, its staff and the rural communities we serve.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board of Directors of READ Global last year and I have been very impressed at the commitment and capabilities of both the headquarters and field staff. READ is doing impressive work in areas of significant unmet need and is making a huge difference in empowering individuals, families and communities. The model for READ's resource centers is smart and sustainable and contributes to the local sense of ownership and enthusiasm. High marks all around!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a volunteer with READ Global in 2014 in the field offices in Nepal, India, and Bhutan. This was truly the experience of a lifetime for me. My coworkers in the country offices in the capital cities were great to work with, and passionate about READ's mission. It was amazing to see the impact of the work that has been accomplished firsthand by visiting the community libraries in rural areas. I also had the opportunity to get to know some of the people in READ villages and hear about how community libraries have improved their lives and communities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent my summer as a volunteer intern at the READ Global office in San Francisco because I was so inspired by their model and work in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. READ not only encourages literacy and economic empowerment in rural villages but also focuses on the sustainability of their programs so that each village takes ownership of their Center and the impact is compounded in future generations. It was these aspects that drew me to this internship, and I am so glad to have learned even more about READ's work during the summer as I researched programs and wrote blogs and posts for the website and social media. I truly enjoyed my internship at READ and consider this to be one of the best organizations working in the field of community empowerment around the world.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I've been working alongside READ for the past 18 months now and it has been one of the most rewarding projects of my life. No other organization that I've ever worked with has a model that manages to capture the unique strengths and culture of the individual communities they serve. The diversity of services found at each READ centre, built upon a solid common foundation of information access, is a model I try and replicate in all my other work. Every community that supports a READ centre is different, and the centres themselves reflect this in a such a genuine and harmonious way. This is truly an amazing hybridization of grassroots development. The staff in READ's 3 country offices and the San Francisco office are all a joy to work with. I look forward to every conversation with them. Amazing people doing amazing work. What more could you ask for in a nonprofit?

Melanie A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I actually came across the READ Center while hunting for an apartment here in Kathmandu. It has been one of my very fortunate finds. I have been volunteering with the organization for the past 6 months, assisting with their media & communications. I have been given the opportunity to prepare impact stories, articles for their blog and to assist in proof-reading reports. I have been able to travel into the field on a number of occasions to Nuwakot, Badikhel and Panuati, and this has given me invaluable work experiences. Not to mention the office is filled with a terrific staff led by Sanjana Shrestha, and in my opinion, is really making inroads in empowering the communities of rural and remote Nepal.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I became associated with READ Nepal through READ Center at Tikapur. Agriculture has been our profession since many generations and my family depends on agriculture for survival. But, past few years, the productivity of crops and vegetables were not good due to pest infestation. Meanwhile, I learned about Practical Answers Service- a joint program of READ Nepal and Practical Action where local queries of local community people are addressed. So, I sent queries related to agriculture and pest infestation. Then, I was called to participate in agriculture interaction program organized by the Tikapur READ center where other local farmers with the similar problems were present. I learned to make homemade pesticide and also off-seasonal vegetable farming. With this, there is drastic improvement in vegetable and crop production and consequently, improved my earning. I am happy to be associated with READ Nepal !

Client Served

Rating: 5

The READ Center provided me with training on Bee keeping. I am now a successful entrepreneur. The READ Center’s livelihood skills development program proves that it is entirely dedicated towards the day to day survival of the individuals of the community. It shows that the READ Center is very directly involved in our problems, and understands our immediate necessities rather than ignoring it and is helping us get away from our desperation.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As I participate in the women’s cooperative, I have gained a lot of firsthand knowledge about the economic status of the community members in my village. I have learned their problems and I have tried my best to provide them with solutions given our resources and knowledge. The READ Center’s decision to make a women’s cooperative is highly beneficial: first it provides the community with financial options, and second, as the cooperative is comprised entirely of women, the community can be assured that a dedicated and empathizing group is working towards their benefit and prosperity. READ has demonstrated that women are capable of performing roles that require transparency and accountability.

Client Served

Rating: 5

READ Nepal’s activities in our community have really impacted our lives in a positive way. I am glad that READ has been able to impact the whole community in a deep and influential way. After taking the adult literacy classes conducted at the READ Center, I have learnt the importance of education and I am committed to educating my children in the future. I have realized what I was missing in my own childhood. Education in my childhood would have made me look at the world in a different way, and I regret some of the mistakes I made in my life and attribute them to a lack of education. I am really dedicated to providing my children with an education that will enable them to be socially conscious individuals. I felt that the READ Center provides a great place to receive informal, socially conscious education which is really adapted to the realities of our poor, rural community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as volunteer in READ information and Resource Center, READ Center at Kathmandu, for 3 months. During the volunteer period, I worked as a facilitator for the adult literacy class and worked with women. This helped me realized that education and literacy is a powerful tool to change the women's status in a country like Nepal and I am glad to be a part of this initiative. I also got the opportunity to work with children and poor people. My early conviction that library is a repository of books have been proved wrong. "Libraries are vehicles for educational, social and economical transformation" and READ has been doing a fantastic work in transforming poor communities of Nepal. I am really proud to be a part of READ !

Client Served

Rating: 5

I graduated from the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program from READ Nepal supported CLRC, 3 years ago. It was a very positive experience for me. One of the main things I remember is that I got to meet, play with and interact with a lot of children my age. I am really good friends with some of the children I met at ECD. It was great to have a place to interact with other children my age, and now that we have gotten older, we have a shared understanding of the importance of a READ Center in our community. I believe that the focus on childhood that READ is dedicated to shows their level of long-term commitment towards the community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the president of Jhuwani Center; READ supported CLRC. Before READ came to our village, I wasn’t satisfied with the level of contribution that I could provide for the rest of my community. I used to feel like my life was being wasted, and that my privileges were not being put to good use. However, due to READ’s goal of increasing community participation, I was provided with a lot of promising opportunities to utilize my leadership in a positive manner. READ gives the community members a lot of say into its activities, and is willing to patiently listen to any and all opinions regarding its activities. I believe this has greatly increased the sense of self-worth among the community members.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for three months with READ Nepal, and I couldn't be more pleased with my experience. I spent a summer working with READ's women's empowerment programs, and during that time I was afforded the opportunity to visit several Community Library and Resource Centers. I was so impressed by what I found. READ Nepal does not just build libraries in rural areas; these centers are so much more than book-lending institutions. Each CLRC is tailored to suit the needs of its specific community, but every one contains a number of programs to address poverty through multiple means. These programs emphasize education, livelihood training, health and healthcare, women's empowerment, economic empowerment, and more. It's almost unbelievable how many dynamic, life-changing programs READ Nepal implements; progress in just one of those areas would be impressive, but READ manages to address them all successfully.
I spoke to several women through interviews, and every single one of them was so grateful for READ's women's empowerment programs. All of them could list dozens of ways they had benefitted or their lives had improved from the presence of a CLRC in their area. These women were living proof that the READ model works.

Not only are the CLRCs impressive, but I was also extremely satisfied with the leadership and staff at the main office in Kathmandu, which is where I was based. Everyone was so friendly, helpful, and passionate about the work they do. I had nothing but positive experiences working alongside such a hardworking group of people, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

" Community driven, controlled and managed development process are most responsive to the aspirations of the people, cost effective and sustainable in the long range. READ Nepal is a living example of it."

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I recently visited four of READ's centers in Nepal and was truly impressed with their dynamic programs and life-changing work. Their libraries provide a platform for positive change and growth in rural communities. The programs run through the libraries are making an impact across sectors including health, education, and economic development. In fact, at each center I visited, local residents were literally lining up to tell me personal stories of how the READ center had positively changed their lives!

Allison24

Donor

Rating: 5

Our family has been very impressed with READ Global. We have been a donor sponsoring a library in Bhutan, and the whole process has been very transparent, impressive, and rewarding. READ is very approachable and willing to work with individuals to customize a donor campaign, which allows you to feel very connected to the project. Earlier this year we were able to visit the library that our campaign paid for, and the READ Bhutan staff was very professional and attentive to sharing the results. We saw first hand how donor funds make a real difference to a large number of people, and the READ Global and READ Bhutan staff made that possible.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

READ Global has been a pleasure to work with. Our family volunteered to raise enough money to build a library in Bhutan, and we are thrilled to be a part of it. With READ, you can feel comfortable knowing that any money you donate goes straight to your goal. In our case, we made the commitment to raise enough money for a library in Bhutan, and READ did the rest, with the inauguration of the completed library one year later!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've visited READ's operations in Nepal and was completely blown away by the depth of impact READ is having in rural communities. Villagers truly "own" the READ centers, ensuring that they are vibrant, dynamic places where all genders and ethnicities are welcome to come, read a book, join a co-op, participate in a training, or practice leadership skills. READ makes a quantifiable impact on each community with which it partners, and that is a rare feat indeed.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I did visit Read Geejgarh and Shahbad Mohammadpura centres and I work as a volunteer/intern at Read India. The models which they are working on has huge impact on the rural villages. They educated rural women in basic essentials of local language, math and this will enable women to overcome the daily hurdles such as reading a bus display board, calculate daily wages, savings. Also the library facility which they are providing will provide a platform to many rural masses who are upgrading and cannot afford to pay for such facilities.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've visited READ centers in India, Nepal and Bhutan. What's impressive about them, and why they are extremely successful, is the way each reflect the input and interests of the local community. Rural villagers have invested their time and resources to create READ centers that delivers on their unique needs. And the result is people's lives are improving in some of the poorest communities in these countries.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

READ does not need any review as the MODEL and functioning simply deserves appreciation as it stands true to its MISSION. I very strongly feel READ is a very DYNAMIC non profit organisation as IT keeps no profit for itself but gives much beyond to the RURAL Communities and society thus adding to the holistic development of a country. I am privileged to be associated with READ which is a rainbow of BOOKS, LIBRARY, LITERACY, OPPORTUNITIES and much BEYOND...... MY SALUTE and BEST WISHES to READ in all the En devours.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been an ICT practitioner in India for over 16 years. As a member of the ICT community in India I travel and interact with many NGOs in remote locations India. I have a personal network of over 200 Non government organizations who are part of the engo group. I have visited the READ center in a remote village called Geegargh in Rajasthan and seen the change a library and women's empowerment can do. The READ model is surely a best practice to be replicated as it works closely with communities building a eco-system of change. The Read centre in Rajasthan works with village women who have never gone to school, it provides them functional literacy and creates community groups which work together to create new livelihood and economic independence.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have visited READ Global centers in India, the center in Geejgarh village in the state of Rajasthan; another one in Dwarka, Kakrola village in Delhi, and most recently the newly inaugurated Shahbad Mohammadpur Model Center in also in Delhi. The work READ Global does is inspiring and meaningful but most importantly, it's amazingly impactful. READ centers in India are community-based and owned projects that are born from the community members' needs but also from their desire to live better lives and to be able to have a safe and inviting place where they can access opportunities that will help them tackle different development issues. READ centers are active, dynamic, lively places where women can be receive training and develop marketable skills (computer or sewing skills or attend beauty school classes, for example) as well as women's empowerment workshops; all the while their children attend the early education section and the library at the center. I see the READ centers as multiple-service centers where community members can come together to use information resources, enjoy recreational activities, learn about issues that are relevant to them, and feel at home. When I think of public libraries and the role they play in developing and empowering their communities, the READ model and its centers are models worth replicating.

Yuddha O.

Advisor

Rating: 5

READ Nepal, an International Non Government Organization (INGO) in Nepal is a branch office of READ Global which is now headquartered in Washington DC and registered as a 501(c)(3) corporation in the U.S. Established in 1991, READ Nepal is a Non Profit Organization which has already established several self sustaining rural libraries in various districts of Nepal. Founded by Dr. Antonia Neubauer in 1980s, READ Nepal has been involved towards a holistic development of the community through the intervention of community libraries.

With the major objective of promoting education through libraries, READ Nepal has been continuously involved in establishing and supporting libraries and helping them to sustain in long run. Conducting various literacy campaigns and involving the local participants of the rural areas has been one of the key roles of READ Nepal for social development. READ Nepal always focuses on economic growth of local communities through income generation sustainability projects and therefore, has been providing various employment opportunities in rural as well as urban areas of Nepal.

The establishment of libraries in various parts of Nepal has made the local communities literate and well able to communicate. As I have witnessed, some of the libraries also have started the literacy campaigns for housewives and the change in those housewives are remarkable and truly appreciable. They have been well able to understand and communicate in proper way and are being involved in social and health awareness programmes.
As I have been associated with READ Nepal since 2003, I have also observed that READ Nepal has truly served for the better education, social and health awareness, income generation, women empowerment and social development through local communities libraries. As sustainability has been essence of READ Nepal, READ supported community libraries are sustained by various income generation projects, whether they by establishment of cooperatives or providing training to local people.
I have always found the staff and officers of READ Nepal enthusiastic, energetic and dedicated and happy to serve the organization and well able to handle the programmes and projects conducted in a regular basis. With such effective staff as a merit, the objectives of the organization have always been achieved and indeed, READ Nepal has truly acted as a perfect organization to serve the local communities on every basis.

Seed

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to meet with staff, volunteers and community members at READ Centers in both India and Nepal. I met individually with staff from all four countries in which READ operates. The commitment and dedication of the staff is exceptional. What makes READ unique is their ability to engage communities as partners in their own development efforts. They do not have a "donor" mindset, but an entrepreneurial "partner" mindset. Having met the staff and seen READ Centers in action, I can say confidently that READ's programs have a tremendous impact on rural communities.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a librarian for more than 35 years and was totally amazed and impressed by the incredible work I saw happening during the two weeks I spent visiting the program in Nepal, India and Bhutan. The work being done in community building, in supporting the development goals and needs of communities, villages and countries, is simply unprecidented in my career.

Donor

Rating: 4

I have recently returned from a wonderful holiday trekking in Bhutan. During my weeks in the country I was able to visit 3 of READ's libraries and community centres. They were all different, a testament to READ's overarching principle that each facility must be requested and owned by the local people and reflect the specific needs of their community. URA library was a full facility with additional rooms for computer use, for youngsters and also for the many training programmes that are being provided for the local women in particular. It was decorated with the drawings and paintings created during a recent art day for the local children. I was also pleased to hear how the staff are providing outreach to a more remote village 11 km further up the valley. It is sustained by a tractor rental business which provides a much wanted service to the local potato farmers. The second library was much smaller and associated with a women's craft training centre. This is an example of how READ Bhutan develops collaborations with domestic charities as well as INGOs to provide convenient opportunites to correct illiteracy within specific groups. The final library and community centre was actually being built. It is a low income area of the capital Timphu and is situated in one of the apartment blocks right in the middle of the development. As part of the many services it will offer (computers, internet access, training, children and women areas etc) it will house representatives of other groups serving the local peripatetic population so giving them a comprehensive and convenient safe haven in which to learn and read. It was opened in mid November by the Prime Minister, another sign of how quickly the READ model of sustainable community-owned facilities has been recognised and adopted in Bhutan.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to visit three READ centers in Nepal in November 2012 and was very impressed by what I experienced and observed. At the strategic level, the READ model of self-sustaining enterprise makes a lot of much needed sense in a world of historically well-intentioned giving with unintended consequences. The READ model, which emphasizes community and stakeholder engagement and ownership, is also highly replicable and does not rely on any one single charismatic individual to succeed. At the operational level, I was able to witness the positive impact READ centers have had on individual lives as well as on entire communities. It was, for example, inspiring to hear the stories of women who, through READ programs, learned to read and write late in their lives or those of the young women who learned technical skills and opened profitable, successful businesses providing valuable and needed services to their communities, or those of the women who formed a successful farming cooperative in their village. It was a moving experience to witness these women articulating how they felt empowered and were now able to contribute to the economic situation of and decision-making processes in their families and communities, rather than feeling marginalized as invisible, second class citizens in a society characterized by ethnic, gender, caste, political and socio-economic divisions. I believe READ has already achieved much and has further potential to do still more. I was also impressed by the READ team's commitment to understand its development impacts through a rigorous monitoring and evaluation process that they are implementing - it is not easy for organizations to take a hard look in the mirror and be honest about what is working versus what is not achieving desired results. READ's monitoring and evaluation program will also achieve accountability for results and give the team the tools and data to substantiate and evidence results, which is critical for ongoing reporting to donors and the public. All in all, I was very impressed with the quality and caliber of the READ Nepal staff that I met as well as with the vision and leadership of the Executive Director of READ Global. Well done everyone and I wish you much continued success!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a family, with my 5 year-old-daughter, we traveled to India and Nepal visiting READ centers and attend the READ conference. It was a life changing experience for all of us. We were so impressed with the READ libraries and dedication of the community and staff who work at these centers to improve the lives of all the people in their villages. We visited READ sewing centers and micro-funding centers that focus to train, educate and empower women to become entrepreneurs to start small businesses to help themselves earn a living. READ is giving rural women with no formal education or employment opportunities to transform their own lives and help educate their children. Being a mother, I was humbled and inspired by the many women who started their own businesses in their homes so their children can attend school. READ is finding solutions to many problems facing societies today and it takes funding and the right programs to help people help themselves. READ is working and cooperating with the villages to identify their needs and offer solutions. This is well worth the investment and time to be part of the answer and actually witness people transform their lives, one can only feel true happiness for humanity.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Books are what we say windows that open a person's mind to the world, and what I think READ Global has done is remarkable. It has not only opened READ centers in communities to help rural development, but has given an opportunity to open the minds of many children's from rural areas. I have myself been to a READ centers in my country, in one of the rural area Ura, Bumthang, Bhutan, and seeing the children being fascinated with a roomful of books to read brought joy to their faces. many book to choose to read, many reference for projects and access to internet, it was nice to see an organization do it.