Dubai: A Dubai Cares-led delegation recently visited Vietnam for the launch of a three-year programme to scale-up a librarian training model to help underserved students adopt a habit of reading.
The Dh7.34 million (USD 2 million) programme is set to support the Vietnamese government in increasing the number of child-friendly libraries across the country. It seeks to establish 320 libraries in 18 districts and publish five new book titles in Vietnamese, benefiting over 140,000 children.
The delegation was led by Dubai Cares CEO Dr Tariq Al Gurg.
The programme is part of a long-standing partnership with ‘Room to Read’, whose early-grade literacy programme was selected as a 2018 Goalkeepers Accelerator, the multiyear campaign from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Dubai Cares, part of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, is supporting the government replication and scale-up of the programme in Vietnam. Dubai Cares’ support also allows Room to Read to establish “demonstration libraries” that will be replicated by the government in priority areas, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Training there.
Dr Al Gurg said: “The Vietnamese government opened the door to improving the culture of reading in 2005 when they made libraries a requirement for all primary schools. Unfortunately, the rooms are rarely used for their original intended purpose or lack appropriate books for children to read, especially in their local languages. We are pleased with the long-standing partnership with Room to Read, whose literacy program has been instrumental in boosting the reading habit in various countries.”
During its visit, the Dubai Cares delegation met with Obaid Al Dhaheri, UAE’s ambassador to Vietnam, who said “the education sector holds a significant share in the UAE’s foreign aid policy”. He added: “Dubai Cares’ launch of new educational programmes and the delegation’s current visit to Vietnam, which are in line with UAE’s Year of Tolerance objectives, is one of the pillars in strengthening relations and cultural exchange as well as opening new horizons for the relations between the UAE and Vietnam in the fields of culture and education.”
Dr Geetha Murali, CEO of Room to Read, said: “Through our partnership with Dubai Cares and the Ministry of Education and Training in Vietnam, Room to Read’s approach is combining the science of learning to read with the magic of loving to read, developing a generation of independent readers who have a strong foundation for all future learning.”