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Literacy NGOs in South Asia

Sep/10/2023 / by Melanie Fourie

Organizations working to improve reading and writing skills

Teen girl of South Asian ethnicity reading a book on a doorstep
Photo via Shutterstock

International Literacy Day has been celebrated annually since 1967 to raise awareness about literacy as a human right and to push for policies that will lead to improved literacy. In 2020, 73.65% of adults in South Asia could read and write. Nevertheless, South Asia is home to more than half of the globe’s illiterate populace, almost all of whom are senior citizens and women. We take a look at some NGOs throughout South Asia that are promoting literacy.

Literacy India

The mission of Literacy India is to improve the quality of life in the country by ensuring that all its citizens have access to a well-rounded education. They have created a novel approach to teaching that integrates outdoor and indoor classroom settings. They’ve also set up a system that enables students to interact with and learn from the local sociocultural milieu.

Literacy India’s Pathshala program began in 1996 in response to the dire need to provide children who had been excluded from formal education with opportunities to learn fundamental skills like reading, writing, and education. Five kids from Bihar who had moved to Gurugram because of the construction boom made up the first class. Pathshala has developed over time to help kids who aren’t in school get started in the regular educational system and fill up any gaps in their education.

Room to Read Nepal

Literacy and gender parity in learning environments are two of Room to Read Nepal’s primary goals. The literacy and girls’ education programs they’ve established are carried out in close conjunction with the Ministry of Education and the National Curriculum and Development Board.

Their instructors also assist teachers, and they help create new reading resources for youngsters. Government schools in Bardiya, Chitwan, Kailali, and more receive support from Room to Read Nepal.

RightToRead Sri Lanka

RightToRead works with EnglishHelper Global and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Education to improve English proficiency among Sri Lanka’s youth. RightToRead Sri Lanka debuted in October 2018 with a prototype institution to demonstrate its advantages.

By February 2019, the program had expanded to 50 pilot schools and began collaborating with the Ministry of Education on a formal rollout strategy to cover all of Sri Lanka by 2021. This implementation model was tried on 100 more schools in late 2019. The project’s outcomes speak for themselves, with language proficiency gains of up to 50% and term test improvements of 30% in both terms.

Teach for Pakistan

Teach for Pakistan’s goal is to create a network of talented and diverse leaders who are dedicated to ending educational inequality in Pakistan. This is done via a fellowship program that lasts two years. They base their activism on this fellowship. It allows the nation’s most talented and promising youth to develop professional relationships with young learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Fellows spend two years learning from and collaborating with system leaders to gain insight into the root of the issue and the mentality, skills, networks, and knowledge necessary to effectively address it. They help pupils succeed in school by improving their reading and writing skills and their overall learning curve, and they work with local groups to eliminate major obstacles to education. After two years, fellows become part of the Alumni Movement, which seeks to reform Pakistan’s educational system.

The Garage School—I CARE Foundation

The Garage School is an initiative of the Safi Benevolent Trust. It helps the children of Shah Rasool and Neelum Colonies, which are next to DHA Phase-V in Karachi, get the literacy and education they require. It began in 1999 when a young girl wanted to go to trade school but was unable to because she was illiterate. Shabina Mustafa rallied to this, and The Garage School was established in her garage in the upscale Clifton neighborhood of Karachi.

Initially, there were only 14 young people learning there. As the number of students grew, Shabina had little alternative but to rent a room in a business building near where the students lived. Today, this property in Neelum Colony has three full floors. The Safi Teacher’s Training Centre, which is part of the Safi Benevolent Trust, was subsequently launched in 2015.


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