| April 4, 2011

Meet Sara – Our Winner!


Meet Sara Rhyne, our winner.

When we saw Sara’s video, we had the overwhelming feeling that she was destined to meet Worldreader and make a difference using e-reader technology to change the face of literacy in the developing world.  Sara hails from a small rural area in North Carolina and works in the local school system, and in less than 3 short minutes, she touched on almost all of Worldreader’s core values.

  1. A self-described “reading nut,” she works in education “teaching teachers the best way to integrate technology in the classroom and helping students become lifelong learners.”   Unlike some development projects, the Worldreader model heavily incorporates teachers— something that will come naturally to Sara.
  2. She really got us when she talked about  “stories are what connect us”- which is a core value of ours-  and why we are are working hard on digitizing thousands of African stories.
  3. She recognizes that access to books is the problem: We love the fact that she took two of her three passions: reading, learning and technology with her to Bolivia and brought (physical) books to the only children’s library in that country.  Now, she’ll be bringing all three of those passions together with her to Ghana.
  4. She’s a hard worker and understands implementing best practices.  She is a go-getter as seen by the fact that she implemented a 44 Kindle program in her own school and developed best practices for students and teachers. We have said this time and again, we’re building the foundation for a culture of reading–something which will take time and, importantly, structure– to create lifelong readers.

So, congratulations Sara, you’ll get to roll up your sleeves and really dig in to the work in Ghana with Worldreader.  We know you’ll learn a ton from the experience and we are looking forward to your perspective too.

A few shout-outs:

Jessica, teacher from MA.  She hit the nail on the head when she said:  “That’s the problem of sending regular paper books to Ghana and Kenya and everywhere else.  Even if it were easy and free, which it isn’t, they might not love those books as I did.”  Why did we have only one winner again?

Jody from DC-  She has spend the past 2 decades working in public health, and believes literacy is a public health issue.  Her desire is to see faces of the kids when they get books- we get that.  It is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.

Simone from Singapore- He has a great attitude and is a tech lover- he would fit in immediately with our team.  We love his passion to make a difference in the world.  Don’t lose touch with us, Simone.

Cissy from Indonesia- While working as a peace corp volunteer in Ghana, she asked her friends from home to send her children’s books since there were none in the local school.  She’s already making a huge difference in people’s lives.

Peter from Belgium- We all fell in love with this applicant, he hit the mark when he talks about what Africa can bring to us.

Hector from Mexico- Incidentally, my daughter begged for him to win.  He wants to learn from what we’re doing in Africa and bring it to his country.  Hector, en un futuro cercano vamos a ir a América Latina, por lo que nos gustaría mantenernos en contacto contigo.

Belinda from Australia- We loved her sunny disposition.  Belinda is a writer herself and is studying to be a teacher.  She shares Worldreader’s belief that knowledge is power.

Amrit – Another amazing entry that had us asking, “How many people can we take again?”  In our blog, we talk a lot about the big dreams that our students have and she summed it up nicely when she said: “The children are the future teachers, doctors and engineers”.  Our latest video is all about that.

Julia–  She had read all of our material and had a profound understanding of how we operate.  She mentioned Augustina in the market– and indeed, that was our “ah-ha!” moment too.

Hollie from Paris- She had a great presence on camera and offered a unique and funny look into why books are her friends.


Elisabet from Spain- Rockin’ video and we loved this: “Hay personas que cambiaron el mundo, y ahora es mi oportunidad.”

These are just a handful of them–there were many many other great ones.  A big thank-you to all who participated, and to eDreams who sponsored the contest.  You inspire us in our mission of “Books for All!”


The Worldreader Team: David, Colin, Zev, Elizabeth, Susan, Jessica, Barbara, Jenn, Noelle, Joseph and Alex

PS- If you haven’t already, check out Drew Budwin– our first Runner-up and Christina Lam, our second Runner-up.  Fantastic entries!