From the Development Desk
Since we started The Bookmark, I’ve asked our president David Risher to pen this column alongside the news and feature stories that follow. David’s traveled across Africa over the past five years to see Worldreader’s programs on the ground, meeting our partners, teachers and students in-person. He has countless stories, photos and reflections to share about the people he’s met who are directly impacted by our e-reading programs.
Simply put, I’ve asked David to write this column because he has such a strong personal connection with Worldreader, and that’s always something we hope to share with you, our donors.
Then, this April, I traveled with Worldreader as part of our Digital Reading Summits in Accra and Nairobi.
Along the way, I joined our staff in Ghana and Kenya as they guided us through the cities, slums and the countryside of East and West Africa. Together, we visited a half-dozen schools and libraries partnering with Worldreader and spoke with dozens of teachers and partners who run our programs every day. On a few special occasions, I sat and read with the students, using Worldreader e-readers, and read the books they were learning to love.
There’s not enough room here for me to describe how meaningful it was to move through these countries and experience first-hand everything I’ve been taught or told since I joined Worldreader. What I can say is that just one trip to see our programs on-the-ground has done more than what a million stories, photos, Bookmarks or annual reports could ever do in helping me realize how technology can truly benefit people in their everyday lives.
I’ve always understood how something like “going digital” can enhance education, but now I’ve seen it too, and that changes everything.
I’ve seen how simple e-books have created enormous possibilities for people like Amina in Nima, Maurice from Dodoma, Teka from Kibera, and so many others. As a fundraiser, my profession now has a very, very personal feel to it. So, donors beware! I have never felt so motivated to ask for money in my life!
And, as it turns out, I do have an ask for our donors. This year, when you consider donating to Worldreader, please also consider a donation of your vacation time. During the entire month of August we are organizing a summer reading program in Ghana that can host individuals or entire families for a weeklong experience in Accra, along the Cape Coast, and volunteering with students in rural primary schools. We are also able to coordinate visits in Kenya through our staff members in Nairobi. Or, if you’re planning on visiting other countries, let me know and we’ll see what’s possible.
Acting Director of Development
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