Room to Read India (RtR) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) jointly hosted a National Seminar on September 8, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Lalit Hotel in New Delhi. The seminar themed on ‘Reading Equals’ recognized Foundational Literacy and Numeracy as an urgent and necessary prerequisite to foundational learning. The event convened participation from more than 150 stakeholders, including National and State-level government officials and like-minded organizations. The seminar aimed at building momentum in favour of foundational learning also witnessed the presence of authors, illustrators, activists, advocacy experts and publishers of children’s literature.
National Seminar jointly organized by Room to Read India and USAID on Reading Equals
Formally welcoming the guests through his welcome address, Mr. Sourav Banerjee, Country Director, Room to Read India said, “Room to Read India’s endeavour is to provide an enabling environment to young readers where they can move beyond looking at text for pleasurable reading and begin the journey of becoming more contributing individuals in the society. This is not only important to support the issue of foundational learning but is also a step towards ensuring social equality.”
Highlighting the importance of equal access to quality education, USAID/India’s Deputy Mission Director, Ms. Karen Klimowski said, “At USAID, we believe that education is the great equalizer and enabler. Quality education not only prepares the children and youth to learn and gain the skills they need for life, it also is a foundational driver for greater economic growth, improved health outcomes, sustained democratic governance, and more peaceful and resilient societies. We are proud to support foundational literacy and reading initiatives in India.”
Ms. Poornima Garg, Deputy Country Director, Room to Read India, spoke about the journey, evolution, and major accomplishments of the India Gets Reading campaign over the four years since its inception. She informed the gathering about the nationwide impact and scale that the campaign was able to achieve across editions.
The event also provided an exclusive platform for experts to reflect on topics pertinent to young readers and learners. There were two panel discussions organized on ‘Literacy and Literature together: Opportunities and Challenges’ and ‘Our Gaze: The texts and the world’ respectively. These discussions were enriched by meaningful inputs from senior government officials and some of the prominent names working in the education sector.
Room to Read India also launched two key initiatives as part of the event. It formally announced the Season-1 of Heads Together – A fireside chat series, where heads of organizations respond to some of the most pressing questions relevant to the education space. Room to Read India’s ‘Room to Learn’ YouTube channel was also officially launched at the event. The channel will serve as a dedicated resource for teachers, students, and school administrators. It will host a repository of learning resources such as children’s books, audio games, and life skills material.
About the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID): USAID is the U.S. Government’s premier international development agency and a catalytic factor driving development results. USAID works to help lift lives, build communities, and advance democracy. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity; demonstrates American generosity; and helps countries progress along their development journey. In India, USAID is collaborating with the country’s growing human and financial resources through partnerships that catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship to solve critical local and global development challenges. To learn more, visit www.usaid.gov/india
About Room to Read India
Room to Read India was established in 2003 and presently has programs in twelve states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi NCR, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.
Room to Read is a global organization transforming the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, our innovative model focuses on deep, systemic transformation within schools during two time periods that are most critical in a child’s schooling: early primary school for literacy acquisition and secondary school for girls’ education. We work in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations, and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensure girls can complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions. By focusing on the quality of education provided within the communities and ensuring these outcomes are measured, we have created a model that can be replicated, localized, and sustained by governments. With its global headquarters in San Francisco, Room to Read has benefited 32 million children across 21 low-income countries.