Rana Dajani is looking for a volunteer product manager to help develop the We Love Reading app, being built by local vendors in Jordan. The role will involve coordinating the team to make sure the app fits the needs of the project and uses the latest tech. They would also like to find a web designer for presenting the program to the world, as well as advice on how to deliver and protect the online training.
What is We Love Reading?
It’s a simple idea which has had an incredible impact. Read-aloud sessions for children are held in public spaces, hosted by local women and young people who are given training in running the sessions.
The children take the books home, where they encourage their parents to read to them or they read to their siblings. So it creates a circle of reading which benefits everyone who is involved.
How is We Love Reading benefitting refugees?
Children can use reading as a tool to resolve trauma and be more positive. The program has been especially powerful among refugees (both children and adults), particularly among Syrian refugees in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
We Love Reading created 20 libraries in the Zaatari camp in Jordan in summer 2014. There was a two-day training session that focused on the art of reading aloud and how to establish a library in the neighbourhood, followed by a one-day training session two months later to share successes and challenges.
Each trainee pledged to read for a period of time and was given a set of 25 stories to read aloud, chosen from the local culture in Arabic, on common themes. The people loved the libraries and would send their children, and word soon spread, with lending soon going up five-fold.
How reading helps children deal with trauma
Children who used to draw pictures of violence and war started drawing pictures of flowers and smiling faces. Children were reading aloud to other children. Young men started thinking of ways to spread We Love Reading to other sectors. They developed ownership and started thinking of themselves of changemakers and doers.
The team conducted a study on reading books related to empathy in children within the context of the We Love Reading program, in collaboration with the University of Chicago.
They were able to show a significant increase in empathy in the children. They could see that giving children in the camps more access to books would help them become more positive and empathetic. It’s so important to remove negative feelings and create a positive environment so that children can grow up to be more balanced despite the trauma they may have faced.
We Love Reading is a way to relieve trauma created by the war and refugee situation. Not only for the children but also for the adults by giving them a purpose in their lives to do something fun for the children. It also gives the adults an opportunity to be leaders in their communities and so they start thinking of how to make things better for the future
What’s next for We Love Reading?
You don’t give a person fish, you teach him how to fish. We Love Reading plants the love of reading so that it becomes a skill that remains with the child forever so that they can use it to build, enforce, explore, create and learn.
They team are looking for effective ways to scale the project, and developing the app will be part of this. They have never worked with a tech team and need support, for example, a project manager or leader, who can follow up with the vendors who are building the app.
They would also like to find a web designer for presenting the program to the world, as well as advice on how to deliver and protect the online training.
Can you help?
If you can or know somebody who can help – please contact Rana Dajani at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the We Love Reading website
Follow @WeLoveReading on Twitter
Join We Love Reading on Facebook