5. Read Global Best Of Site Visit Photographs 042

Partnering with Communities to End Poverty, One Rural Village at a Time

Dr. Antonia Neubauer, Tina Sciabica, Omer Rains, Adnan Durrani, Raphael Bemporad and Jan Morgan, READ Global

In rural Asian communities, years of grinding poverty have taken their toll on the ability of individuals, families and larger communities to build a future with opportunities. To address this problem, Dr. Antonia Neubauer founded READ Global, an international non-profit that partners with rural villages to build Community Library and Resource Centers (READ Centers) and seed for-profit enterprises to help break the cycle of poverty.

READ Centers offer knowledge, information and opportunities to individuals who lack the most basic educational resources. Each READ Center houses vital resources—a library, computer center, women’s room, early childhood development section and training/meeting hall. Programming covers topics such as healthcare, literacy, livelihood skills and legal rights.

READ Nepal was awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Access to Learning Award in 2006, and subsequently received a generous grant from the foundation to expand into India and Bhutan.

To date, READ Global has established more than 60 libraries with a reach of 1.8 million people throughout India, Nepal and Bhutan. For-profit enterprises launched by READ communities help sustain each center with ongoing revenue and stimulate local economies by creating create jobs. These enterprises range from small storefront rentals to larger businesses such as a furniture factory and a sewing and apparel center.

Led by former SVN Deputy Director Tina Sciabica, READ Global expanded its impact with the help of several other SVN members who sat on READ Global's board of directors: Mal Warwick, former Board Chair; Omer Rains, former Board Chair; Adnan Durrani; Raphael Bemporad; and Jan Morgan. Toni Neubauer and Raphael Bemporad still sit on READ Global's board of directors.