The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read Initiative Builds Reading Opportunities for Children in Myanmar

Yangon, September 2, 2019 — The Asia Foundation, Myanmar’s Ministry of Information, the Myanmar Library Association, and local children’s book publisher Third Story Project came together today to announce the launch of Let’s Read in Myanmar. Let’s Read is the Foundation’s collaborative approach to overcoming children’s book scarcity in Asia. Already present in nine countries in the region, Let’s Read will build upon The Asia Foundation’s vast network of partners in Myanmar to foster publishing ecosystems and inspire reading habits that help children, families, and communities thrive.

There is high demand for reading materials in Myanmar but only four percent of the nation’s 53 million children have books in their home. Storybooks have the power to provide each of these children with opportunities to thrive in their ever-evolving environment. The Asia Foundation’s free digital library offers books in 24 languages including Myanmar, Rakhine, Chin, and Kachin with plans to add additional titles and languages as the project grows.

A child’s passion for reading better predicts their academic success than their family’s socioeconomic status. To experience the full benefits of reading, children need books that reflect their own lives and books that introduce them to the world. Let’s Read Myanmar is committed to building a robust library of local language books through local publishing and translation to ensure that children have books that will act as both mirrors and windows and enable them to benefit from The Book Effect.

Today, the Let’s Read Myanmar collection includes brand new stories written and illustrated by book creators in Myanmar that celebrate diversity and inclusion. The collection also includes Girl Power in Myanmar, illustrated by local artists, telling the stories of brave and influential women throughout the history of the nation. With support from the Myanmar Library Association and their volunteer networks, children can enjoy books created by Let’s Read communities across Asia translated into Myanmar language.

Over the next six months, The Asia Foundation will continue to collaborate with the Myanmar Library Association and other partners to introduce Let’s Read to libraries across the country, host editor and writer workshops to help develop local book creators’ capacity, and host two more translation events with local volunteers to adapt stories from the Let’s Read library into local languages.

Let’s Read builds a world where curious and educated readers create thriving societies. We bring together the talent of local partners and the power of technology to create and translate relatable children’s books while nurturing reading habits that enable children to reach important developmental milestones, families to share stories that affirm their culture, and communities to benefit from the contributions of all their members.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

Read more about the Foundation’s work.

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Related locations: Myanmar
Related programs: Books for Asia
Related topics: Let's Read

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