Helping Societies Flourish
Annual Report 2018
Message from the Chairman and President
Over the years, our long-standing Books for Asia program has reached millions of readers of all ages and sectors of society, equipping students, professionals, and policymakers with tools and resources to contribute effectively to their country’s development. In the past year, the number of books we have put in the hands of children, emerging leaders and adults reached nine million, and the year’s contributions brought the total number of books donated since the program began to more than 52 million. Books for Asia was recently honored by the U.S. Library of Congress Literacy Awards for innovative literacy promotion. In many remote, conflict-affected regions, books and literature are scarce. Our new Books for Asia digital initiative — Let’s Read —now allows children to read books for free on a mobile phone or tablet wherever they are and in their own languages.
Through this initiative, we are contributing to a love of reading for children, while at the same time building a rapidly expanding network of young authors, illustrators, and translators equipped to create quality digital books in dozens of languages. They are developing skills and contemporary avenues to publishing, while forming a new culture of literature and learning in places where it has been largely absent.
Bringing together new modes of thinking, approaches, and tools with the drive and passion of young people and investing in their future is an enduring characteristic of The Asia Foundation’s work. In Afghanistan, for example, we are preparing Afghan girls in Kandahar province for the national public university entrance exam. Last year, 78 percent of girls who received this support passed the exam and gained entry to a four-year national university.
In the Malaysian state of Sabah, where young people are often recruited as innocent participants in criminal syndicates, we reached hundreds of potentially at-risk youth through cultural and football camps, short-circuiting a destructive cycle and providing alternative possibilities in a place where such options are in short supply.
In China, domestic giving sky-rocketed in 2008 after the devastating Sichuan earthquake, marking a turning point for Chinese philanthropy which was limited until then. In this emerging sector, The Asia Foundation is working with China Foundation Center, providing technical assistance to improve effective grantmaking to civil society organizations. These are just a few examples that illustrate the strategic and nuanced investments the Foundation is making in a dynamic Asia. These thoughtful, complex investments continue to set us apart. But our work is only possible because of dedicated friends and supporters like you. Thank you,