International Mother Language Day: Ysolde and Her Magical Shoes

International Mother Language Day: Ysolde and Her Magical Shoes

Today is International Mother Tongue Language Day. Imagine you’re a young girl living in Rwanda. You speak Kinyarwanda, your mother tongue, at home with your family, with your friends as you run and play. You even think and dream in Kinyarwanda. But at school, they don’t speak your language -- literally. These foreign words are unfamiliar and often confusing, as are the books that feature children entirely unlike you. Until…

You have the opportunity to read a book in Kinyarwanda, whose characters reflect your reality, your culture, everything you know. Perhaps if school were always this way, learning would be easier...

Around the world, 250 million children are not learning the basics of how to read and write, even after four years in school. One potential explanation? The lack of books and educational content in mother tongue languages.

We know that books and instructional materials in mother tongue languages are critical to teach children the basics of reading and writing, but as much as 40% of the global population isn’t learning a language they speak or understand. This is partially because only a few languages have been truly prioritized and placed in the educational system. Sadly, it is also because many mother tongue languages are endangered.

More than half of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations, and 96% of these languages are spoken by a mere 4% of the world's population. Unfortunately, this means that many children are without the opportunity to learn in their mother tongue language, and the rich multicultural fabric of our world misses out as a result.

In the process of curating books for our digital library across our five program countries, the Library For All team was shocked to discover this gap in the availability of mother tongue books.

Our solution? To facilitate the creation of mother tongue content through writer workshops and strategic partnerships with publishers and other organizations who share our vision of increasing the global pipeline of mother tongue language content.

This year, we committed to hosting three Writer Workshops in Haiti to teach aspiring authors how to write ebooks in their local language, Haitian Creole. Through those workshops, we created 260 original children’s books in Haitian Creole, and the response has been overwhelming.

In addition to our Writer Workshops in Haiti, Library For All has also partnered with ImagineWe, a Rwandan publishing house, to create a book in Kinyarwanda called “Ysolde and Her Magical Shoes.” This Rwandan fairy tale is about a courageous little girl whose bravery and big heart save her village. ImagineWe shares many of Library For All’s core values, among them their vision to restore African dignity, improve young readers’ self-esteem, and to support the rise of education outcomes and literacy rates.

Library For All’s strategy to increase the amount of mother tongue content presents the unique opportunity to leverage the development of linguistically and culturally relevant content in such a way that improves literacy and fosters a new generation of mother tongue materials that will help preserve these endangered languages for generations to come.

We are proud to honor the beauty that linguistic diversity bring both to our work, and to the world at large.

Cover for "Ysolde and Her Magical Shoes." Illustrated by ImagineWe in Kigali, Rwanda

Cover for "Ysolde and Her Magical Shoes." Illustrated by ImagineWe in Kigali, Rwanda

The ImagineWe Publishing Team and our Director of Business Development, Isabel Sheinman, holding ImagineWe's highly popular published books in Rwanda. 

The ImagineWe Publishing Team and our Director of Business Development, Isabel Sheinman, holding ImagineWe's highly popular published books in Rwanda. 

International Day of the Girl: Announcing our first ever Girls' Collection!

International Day of the Girl: Announcing our first ever Girls' Collection!

Happy International Day of the Girl! The UN has declared October 11th as Day of The Girl Child “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” At Library For All, we are proud to support girls around the world. Last fall we launched our Girls' Collection crowdfunding campaign to raise $10,000 to both curate and create original titles to include in a Girls' Collection for our readers in Haiti. 

Celebrating Teachers: Champions of Knowledge

Celebrating Teachers: Champions of Knowledge

Happy World Teacher Day! At Library For All, we believe teachers are true champions of knowledge.As schools around the world become increasingly more equipped with ICT and devices, teachers have expressed the value of using our digital library in the classroom. Teachers at our partner schools believe that children must be exposed to an abundance of quality content – especially in their local language – to develop a lifelong love of reading.

Social Enterprise and Global Technology Company Partner to Foster Digital Opportunity

Social Enterprise and Global Technology Company Partner to Foster Digital Opportunity

Article by Kevin Kraver, Director of Business Development, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Originally posted here. At Miller Center, we think a lot about how social entrepreneurship can help solve the problems of poverty at scale. Given our Silicon Valley surroundings, we also think about the role of technology, and how corporations can partner to create greater impact. It is exciting and powerful when we experience all of these ideals coming together to serve the poor. Library For All, a recent alumnus of the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®), and corporate partner, Equinix, provide a great example.

International Literacy Day 2017: Literacy in a Digital World

International Literacy Day 2017: Literacy in a Digital World

Did you know that the world’s poorest households are more likely to have access to mobile phones than to toilets or clean water? It’s true – 8 in 10 individuals living in developing countries own a mobile phone, and mobile penetration rises year over year. (World Bank, 2016) We live in a time where people living on less than $1.25 USD per day have access to a mobile phone, representing a huge opportunity to reach the world’s poorest people with critical services to improve literacy. The UN’s theme for International Literacy Day of “Literacy in a Digital World” shines a spotlight on this potential.

Sony DADC Announces eBook URMS Partnership With Global Nonprofit, Library For All, To Bring Digital Library To Developing Countries

Sony DADC Announces eBook URMS Partnership With Global Nonprofit, Library For All, To Bring Digital Library To Developing Countries

NEW YORK, Sept. 7, 2017 / PRNewswire / -- In time for International Literacy Day, Sony DADC announced its partnership today with global nonprofit Library For All. Based in NYC, Library For All curates and distributes a customized cloud-based, digital library platform to children and adults living in developing countries where physical books are scarce but mobile devices are widespread. Library For All's digital library is filled with culturally relevant eBooks licensed or donated from local and international publishers.

Women of NYC Tech: Tanyella Evans, Library For All

Women of NYC Tech: Tanyella Evans, Library For All

Much has been said and written about the lack of women in the tech sector, be it as investors (or associates), founders, or in management positions at major companies. Is the problem the old boys network – or that success in technology is seen as a young man’s game?  In this series, we speak with some of the top women in tech in New York as they discuss the challenges they face, the perceptions that need to be changed and the work that’s being done – or not – to help to promote women.

Today we speak with Tanyella Evans, cofounder and CEO at Library For All, a nonprofit building a cloud-based digital library and platform for communities in the developing world. Tanyella has worked in social entrepreneurship and international development, focusing specifically on education and culture. Using her experience as an educator in some of the poorest communities, Tanyella has established a much needed school in Haiti and continues to provide necessary educational tools and resources to the world’s indigent communities. Tanyella is active in the NYC tech ecosystem and is doing her part to strengthen communities in a booming tech city to the poorest regions.

Library For All featured on PIX11: Changemakers

Library For All featured on PIX11: Changemakers

CHELSEA, Manhattan — Some 250 million children worldwide lack access to books and basic education. In countries like Haiti, 85 percent of schools don't even have a library, but the nonprofit Library For All is changing the game."We exist to make knowledge accessible to all equally," co-founder Tanyella Evans said. "We believe that in the 21st century access to knowledge is a basic human right."

Rwanda's Umubano Primary School embraces Library For All

 Rwanda's Umubano Primary School embraces Library For All

At A Partner in Education, we have successfully carried out international campaigns to collect books to send to Rwanda, where children in British, French and American establishments have donated second hand books to be enjoyed by students at Umubano Primary School. But what happens when the students have finished those books or when they want to access materials outside of term time? In a rapidly developing country, where most of the parents of our students now have a smart phone, we need to start thinking outside the book and consider some digital alternatives.