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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

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 !

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.

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!

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.

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.

John129

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm an engineer and have have worked on projects in Bhutan for over 20 years. I was in Bhutan when READ began and have watched its progress with interest. Occasionally I've been asked to volunteer my consulting services for library construction projects. READ Bhutan is professionally managed and staffed with people committed to their mission. Making progress on any type of project in Bhutan is difficult so the great contributions READ has made to literacy, education and well being in Bhutan are truly remarkable.

14 Edu-Utsav

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I am from a historic village of Eastern Terai of Nepal. The village is Hanumannagar of Saptary district. It is old headquarters of the Saptary district. It lies on the bank of the Saptakoshi river, about 13 kilometers East of the present headquarters Rajbiraj. It joins the East-West Mahendra highway at Bhardah, 6 kilometers in the North East. Though of historic importance, this village lacks better educational infrastructures. A high school viz., Mahavir Secondary School, has been running since early 60s. It has a wide coverage of surrounding 6-7 villages. No. of students is very high but I am very sorry to say that it has no library yet. I am a product of this school, 1987 batch. When I passed SLC (Secondary level) and went to join I.Sc., I found my range of knowledge so narrow, and it's all due to lack of library in my school. I even had not seen how library looks alike. Now I can understand the importance of a library in underdeveloped villages. So, I am striving to help establish a library in this school of Hanumannagar. I expect support of READ in this endeavor. My Address is as follows: Name: C.N. Khadga (Mr.) Contact Address: GPO: 23151, Kathmandu, Nepal. Email: eduutsav@yahoo.com, cnkhadga@yahoo.com Status: Managing Director, Edu-Utsav Education Foundation