READ International began life in 2004 as a small project based at Nottingham University, founded by a group of socially entrepreneurial students following a ‘gap year’ teaching in Tanzania. Now there are over 1,000 student volunteers involved, operating from a network of over 50 university sites across the UK.
Text books are collected from anyone and anywhere all over the UK, to be taken to Tanzania and Uganda. Tanzania and Uganda follow a secondary school syllabus almost identical to the UK, but teachers often lack the resources needed to teach. In the UK newer editions of books inevitably replace the old (very often only a couple of years old though), which makes for good quality, but technically ‘out of date’ textbooks filling up school store rooms or ending up in landfill. READ and its volunteers send them to where they are really needed, improving access to education to thousands of children in East Africa.
Since registering as a charity READ has been recognised in a number of ways. READ International was winner of ‘Best New Charity’ in the Charity Times Awards 2007, and ‘Best International Aid and Development Charity’ in the Charity Awards 2010 and Best Corporate Partnership in the Institute of Fundraising Awards 2010. Founder and director Rob Wilson was awarded Enterprising Young Brit 2010 and a Beacon Fellow for Young Philanthropist of the year 2010.
More information on the work of READ, including the progress made in the summer of 2010 can be found on the website at http://www.readinternational.org.uk/