Charity Tandem Skydive with Read International
READ International’s mission is to improve literacy in Tanzania by distributing books to schools and renovating library facilities. These activities are led by student volunteers from the UK and Tanzania, and supported by staff based in both countries.
Read International PhotoWe have distributed 1,303,890 books to over 1,000 Tanzanian schools, renovated 50 libraries, and improved access to education for over 400,000 school students. In the UK, we have run leadership volunteer programmes at over 50 universities and 45 sixth forms or colleges, engaged 1,500 student volunteers, and collected books from over 3,000 secondary schools. Our work also has a positive environmental impact – we have saved over 2 million books from landfill, equating to 1,000 tonnes of waste.
Despite the relatively small size of our team, we are able to keep our costs low and our efficiency high, supported by partnerships with companies and trusts in the UK and Tanzania. Our partners in the UK include Usborne Books, Big Yellow Self Storage, Better World Books, British Airways and vInspired.
READ International was founded in 2004 by a group of socially entrepreneurial students at Nottingham University. The idea of collecting books and distributing them abroad was borne out of one student’s travels in Tanzania, where he observed first-hand a distinct lack of access to educational resources. Students decided to take direct action to address the issue, and READ International was founded.
Access to education in Tanzania continues to be poor, particularly at the secondary level. The Tanzanian government allocates 13.5% of its annual budget to its secondary schools system, in relation to comparable African countries who allocate 26.3%. As a result, the secondary educational system is poorly resourced and pupils face significant challenges in progressing to higher education. Our work addresses this gap in provision, increasing access to education for thousands of Tanzanian students – empowering them to fulfil their potential and improving their future employment prospects.