More than 250 million children around the world cannot read or write, representing “a quiet crisis that is casting entire communities into a cycle of extreme poverty,” said recently USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah when announcing the 2015 winners of USAID’s “All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development” literacy innovations competition. Benetech won an All Children Reading grant for a project to provide primary school students who are blind in India with mother tongue instruction and reading materials through Bookshare, our digital library of accessible books. In a story titled “USAID Grant Helps Create Marathi Books for Blind Kids,” Indian newspaper India-West highlights our winning project and cites Kristina Pappas, International Program Manager for Bookshare.
Students who are visually impaired in India face formidable challenges in attempting to complete their education, Pappas tells India-West. Only 10 to 15 percent of children who are blind are able to read at grade level, she said, adding that the goal of Benetech’s pilot project as funded by the All Children Reading grant is to get 30 to 35 percent of blind children at three schools in Pune to read at appropriate grade levels.
India-West is the largest weekly Indian newspapers on the West Coast of the United States. You can read the complete story on the India-West website.