Thinking Children Become Thinking Adults
Did you know … * 61% of children in the U.S. who live in poverty have no books in their homes. * One in three U.S. children enters kindergarten lacking basic pre-reading skills. * By age three, children living in poverty have heard 30 million fewer words than their peers who do not live in poverty. * Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. * The only behavioral measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home. The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions, 1998. We are helping to change this!
Since 2000 our Share Literacy program has donated over 650,000 books to underserved children in the US, Mexico, and Guatemala.
For more visit: www.shareliteracy.org Additionally our associates The Institute for Cross-cultural Education have donated a further 92,000 Hoopoe books to underserved children in Canada. The U.S. National Center for Family Literacy studies have shown that being read to as a child and having books in the home are the two most important indicators of future academic success. We felt sure that this would apply in Afghanistan, Pakistan and across the world. In May 2012, a study that confirmed this was quoted in The New York Times, it involved 70,000 students from 27 countries, and revealed that having books in the home was as good a predictor of children’s educational attainment as parents’ education levels. In fact, access to books was more predictive than the father’s occupation or the family’s standard of living. The greatest impact of book access was seen among the least educated and poorest families. (Citation: Evans, M.; Kelley, J.; Sikora, J; and Treiman, D. 2010. Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. Volume 28, Issue 2, June 2010, 171–197.)
For more than three decades, Afghanistan has been decimated by a continuous state of war, which began with the 1979 Soviet invasion and persists today with the Taliban insurgency. The literacy needs of Afghan children are crucial to the stability and progress of the country, yet Afghanistan’s ability to educate its children through these turbulent years is severely impeded. We are two years past the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012), yet the literacy rate for Afghans over 15 years old is 29%. Afghanistan has the highest proportion of school-age (ages 7-12) children in the world and almost 50% (5 million) of them have no access to education. The situation is more severe for Afghan girls: only 39% of them attend school and their school life expectancy is only four years. The future for an Afghan child who can’t read her own language is grim: crushing poverty, vulnerability to extremist beliefs and low life expectancy. We are helping to change this!
In 2006 Hoopoe obtained permission from the Afghan Ministry of Education in Kabul to “repatriate” the traditional tales from the region retold especially for children by the Afghan author and educator Idries Shah. Called Teaching-Stories by Western educators, the values and experiences preserved in these ancient tales means that they not only serve as building blocks to literacy, but help to provide positive internal narratives for children who have seen nothing but war, violence and loss, and to form a bridge that makes a modern education more acceptable to conservative elders who recognize these tales from their own childhood. In 2009 we formed a partnership with Khatiz Organization for Rehabilitation (KOR) in Kabul and together:
WE HAVE PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED OVER 4 MILLION DARI-PASHTO AND ENGLISH HOOPOE BOOKS THROUGHOUT AFGHANISTAN, AND TRAINED 550+ TEACHERS (teacher trainings are currently curtailed through lack of funds.) An independent evaluation of our program found that:
* parents and teachers are unanimously pleased that the books are culturally relevant and published in bilingual Dari and Pashto editions. * it was especially noted that recipients teach their siblings how to read at home and read to their neighbors, so this program engages children beyond those who receive books directly. * the program transforms a child’s reading behavior: both teachers and parents noticed that the children’s skills improved, leading them to read other materials such as newspapers and magazines. * parents and teachers said that the most important things that the children gain from our book distribution are improved language skills (in both Dari and Pashto), a sense of expanded opportunities and a better knowledge of Afghan culture, its stories and traditions. For more visit: www.booksforafghanistan.org
According to a UNESCO Press International Report “the picture of illiteracy in Pakistan is grim, and especially alarming in rural areas due to social and cultural obstacles. … One of the most deplorable aspects is that in some places, particularly northern tribal areas, the education of girls is strictly prohibited on religious grounds. This is a gross misinterpretation of Islam, the dominant religion in Pakistan (96 percent of the population), which urges both men and women to acquire an education. They report that the situation is the most critical in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Baluchistan, where the female literacy rate stands between 3 per cent and 8 per cent. We are helping to change this!
The foundations for literacy are laid in the language that infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children hear every day, which is why Hoopoe aims to provide books in underserved children’s mother tongues. Thanks to our partnership with Alif Laila Book Bus Society we have already sent thousands of Urdu-Pashto books to children in the camps for internally displaced families and in schools in Peshawar, the capital of KPK. As soon as we can afford to print more books, an Urdu-Baluchi edition of these titles is ready to be printed and distributed in Baluchistan. We also have also distributed thousands of Urdu-English editions to underserved schoolchildren in the Lahore region, and will print Urdu-Sindhi editions for those children who speak Sindhi as soon as we have the funds to do so. For more visit www.booksforpakistan.org Only through education will things begin to change and literacy is the beginning. Hoopoe stories entertain and inspire children and foster a lifelong love of reading and learning.