Investing in children to unleash their creativity and imagination is the best form of investment for a nation. It’s more fitting for a financial institute. IPDC Finance Ltd. is doing exactly that by supporting the establishment of school libraries in underprivileged schools in Bangladesh. In the last 2 years, in partnership with Light of Hope’s ‘Porua Project’, IPDC set up 13 school libraries to impact 3820 children in Bangladesh.
Light of Hope runs the country’s largest private-run school library project called ‘Porua’. Under the project, already more than 300 school libraries are established where over 100,000 children are benefitting from access to storybooks. This initiative is not just helping children to improve their reading skills but also helping to boost their creativity and imagination. For many of these children, it was the first time that they got hold of a storybook in their lives.
Why invest in the school library?
One-third of Grade 3 students can read Bengali properly in Bangladeshi schools, whereas three forth of Grade 5 students are below the reading standard in Bengali. (Source: Daily Star, January 2018) This lack of foundational literacy forces children to drop out of schools as they can’t comprehend all the other subjects (Math, Science, Social Science etc.).
A 10 percent increase in the number of students who are able to read results in a 0.3 percent increase in GDP.
Bangladesh being a developing country, $1 investment in primary level will give the highest ROI (Return on Investment) compared to secondary or tertiary level education. Light of Hope’s study suggests that setting up a school library and giving access to storybooks to children is the smartest investment with the highest ROI.
Having a functional library in primary schools with age-appropriate storybooks significantly improves the reading skills among children. But unfortunately, merely about 10-15% primary schools in Bangladesh have a functional library from where children can get access to books other than their academic books.
For organizations and donors, who want to invest in impact and future return, helping schools to set up a library can be the ‘go-to-decision’.
Storytelling is one of the most beloved activities by the children. Teachers in pre-primary classes are getting the chance to read storybooks for the first time in many schools under the Porua project. This is giving the children an early boost to their literacy skill.
Under ‘Porua Project’, applying school gets minimum 200+ age-appropriate storybooks for the different level (Grade 1 to Grade 5). The school also receive training from Light of Hope on library management. Besides teachers, a group of grade 5 students takes the responsibility to maintain the library. They act as librarians. This is how the school library sustains its operation.
IPDC is committed to continuing its support for investing more on children by setting up new school libraries in different parts of Bangladesh. Light of Hope deeply appreciates towards the IPDC Management for taking this journey forward. Hopefully, in 10-15 years from now, we will have future leaders coming out of these schools and take our country forward.
Of the 300 school libraries that we help set up under our ‘Porua project’ 50% of the support came from individuals. Individuals who believed that it’s important that giving access to storybooks to children is the best form of support to underprivileged schools. Individuals who wanted to set up a library in their home village.
Remaining 50% school libraries were funded by organizations like IPDC Finance. Organizations and individuals contributed to storybooks or fund to purchase the books. From Light of Hope, we volunteered our time to visit the schools and set up the library, provide necessary training.
If you are an individual or working in an organization who want to contribute to this ongoing initiative to bring storybooks to every child in Bangladesh, please contact with us.
Waliullah Bhuiyan, CEO, Light of Hope
Email: [email protected]