Sokong Team
Tue Nov 21 2023

Transforming Lives through Reading: The 'Readers Today, Leaders Tomorrow' Campaign

Youth & Children
This article features :

Malala Yousafzai once shared, "One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world." These aren't just words; they're a powerful call to action. In a joint collaboration between MYReaders and Global Shapers Kuala Lumpur, the 'Readers Today, Leaders Tomorrow' campaign is one where we want to embark on a journey to turn these words into reality, by transforming lives through the magic of books.

Our mission is simple: to provide high-quality reading resources to children from marginalized communities, lighting up the path to a brighter future and empowering leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Picture this: your support places captivating storybooks and invaluable learning resources directly into the hands of deserving young readers, creating a haven that enables them to dive into the joy of reading, fostering not just literacy skills but also a love for learning.


In Malaysia, a concerning literacy gap prevails. According to Untuk Malaysia, in 2021, slightly over a quarter (286,861) of children aged 4 - 6 were unable to attend preschool before enrolling in primary school. Relatedly, a report by The World Bank on learning poverty in Malaysia published the same year, reported that 43 % of children aged 10 - 12 are not proficient in reading. Lack of basic literacy is a fundamental issue affecting vulnerable persons’ lack of access to learning and information, low health literacy, and a barrier to the attainment of livelihood.

Orang Asli communities are especially severely affected by a cycle of poverty linked to barriers to accessing education. Beyond efforts focused on livelihood, education attainment is a way for families to attain better life outcomes and break out of the poverty cycle in the long run. However, Orang Asli children are disproportionately affected by illiteracy as a barrier to pursuing learning, leading to dropouts from school. In 2008, the literacy rate among Orang Asli was only 51% in contrast with the national literacy rate of 93.1%.


When it comes to refugee communities, an estimated 47,200 children from refugee, migrant, and stateless communities have limited or no access to education. According to UNHCR, only 44% of refugee children in Malaysia are enrolled in primary education, and 16% of refugee youth are enrolled in secondary education. For many children, the only access to learning is through alternative learning centres, which faces its own challenges of adequate resources, high-quality learning material and curricula in order for children to attain foundational skills such as reading.

Through LitHubX: Literacy For All, a project to equip Alternative Learning Centers supporting refugee, stateless and migrant children with literacy programmes, we have identified 6 other centres beyond the scope of the project in need of suitable reading resources. Alongside this, we are working closely with 5 Orang Asli communities to provide Malay and English language modules. Similarly, we have identified a total of 10 communities and schools across Malaysia seeking support with suitable reading materials. Thus, we want to address this gap by raising RM5,000 for a start, to provide high-quality reading materials and learning resources for children from these communities.


This campaign is more than raising funds; it's an investment in these children's futures. By unlocking the transformative power of reading, we aim to bridge the literacy gap, ensuring that every child has the chance to unlock their full potential. In essence, 'Readers Today, Leaders Tomorrow' is an open invitation to be part of a movement that believes in the power of literacy to shape bright futures. As we rally together to support this campaign, let's remember that with each book opened, we're illuminating paths, one page at a time, toward a brighter and more empowered tomorrow. Your contribution fuels this transformation so join us in lighting up a better tomorrow!

by malaysiakini

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