After a successful pilot phase of the Reading for Children program in Gorno-Badakhshan province in 2010, the Aga Khan Foundation is collaborating with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand the program in Khatlon Province.

Fostering a Love for Reading in Young Children

Reading for Children takes a holistic approach for fostering a love of reading among young children in Tajikistan, where the vast majority of children in rural areas lack early childhood education programs. By developing children’s enthusiasm for books and reading skills, the project will ensure that they are well-prepared to learn to read with ease and enthusiasm when they enter school.

The project provides age-appropriate materials to rural children and their families by establishing mini-libraries in early childhood development (ECD) centers. The centers are located within government schools and community public libraries. Building on the Foundation’s two decades of experience with rural development in Tajikistan, the project also provides library bags to members of Community-Based Savings Groups (CBSG).

Involving Families for Storytelling and Language Skills

With a grant of over $1 million from USAID, the Foundation is establishing 246 mini libraries (covering 11 districts – 8 in Khatlon and 3 in Gorno-Badakhshan) and distributing 100 “libraries in a bag” to CBSGs or women’s groups.

Short workshops train teacher trainers and build the skills and confidence of parents and caregivers for telling stories, and reading with children in enjoyable ways. These interactions build vital language abilities, confidence and enthusiasm for learning. The project also works with local authors and illustrators to create print materials for early learners available in local languages. The project is developing approximately 30 new books. These direct interventions are expected to reach more than 26,000 children.

The Reading for Children in Tajikistan Project is an initiative of USAID and the Aga Khan Foundation. See a success story in the 2013 AKF USA annual report.