Room to Read: How one library changed Habsa’s life


In Tanzania, students face many barriers on the road to quality education. Sometimes, being different is the main barrier. Habsa, a twelve-year-old student in Tanzania, knows this challenge all too well. Habsa has albinism, which brings with it many uncertainties, as there are many albinism killing incidents in Tanzania. “Her life is threatened,” her father explained. “We are so worried that she cannot attend extra classes. We have to make arrangements for her to attend school every day – most of the time we have to escort her to school.”

Habsa is one of the students benefitting from Room to Read’s Literacy Program. After falling ill and staying home for three years, teachers have been very impressed with her progress since returning to school. Magreth, one of her teachers, explained that “using Room to Read’s teaching methodologies, Habsa was able to catch up when she returned to school. She now reads and writes very fast, and with additional books from the library she has been able to perform so well in grade one that she was moved to grade three. “ Habsa explains that her secret to success has been borrowing two books from the library every day to read to her family. The libraries and resources provide children like Habsa with friendly, safe spaces to develop the skills and habit of reading. “Habsa loves to read,” her father said as he smiled. “Before we had electricity, at night she used to read with an oil lamp. She loves the books from the library.” Habsa explains, “ when I grow up I want to be a teacher.”

Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read’s innovative model focuses on deep, systemic transformation within schools in low-income countries during two time periods that are most critical in a child’s schooling: early primary school for literacy acquisition and secondary school for girls’ education. Room to Read works in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensure girls can complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions. Room to Read has benefited over 11.5 million children across more than 20,000 communities in 14 countries in Asia and Africa and aims to reach 15 million children by 2020. Learn more at


Creative Associates International: Helping Girls Find Hope after Boko Haram- Hau'wa's Story

Hau'wa reading with kids

Hau'wa reading with kids


By Chima Onwe and Evelyn Rupert

ADAMAWA, Nigeria — Hau’wa is practicing her breathing. She places her hands on her stomach, inhaling deeply, and counts to 10.

She is seated with classmates in a non-formal learning center in this northern city, where part of her education is devoted to social and emotional learning. The breathing exercise is a tool that helps students learn to control their anger.

The instruction is aimed at helping Hau’wa, 15, cope with the trauma she has already experienced, at the hands of Boko Haram.

Across five states, 1,300 similar non-formal learning centers supported by the Nigeria Education Crisis Response program are helping students like Hau’wa.

With the help of the communities, the program is increasing the availability of safe and protective learning spaces that provide instruction in core academic subjects, wrap-around services like socio-emotional support and life skills for internally displaced and out-of-school children and youth.

In northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram has terrorized communities for more than a decade, this programming can encourage healing and build resiliency. By focusing on the overall wellbeing of students, the non-formal learning centers aim to help children regain a sense of normalcy and community and foster educational success.

The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by Creative Associates International in partnership with the International Rescue Committee and more than 30 Nigerian organizations.

Read more

World Education: Breaking the Cycle of Child Labor- Sharadha's Story


Sharadha's Story

To support her family, Sharadha, a young girl from Nepal, was forced to drop out of school. Instead of learning, she worked 12 hours a day in the same brick factory where her mother died. 

Poor girls in Nepal are especially vulnerable to trafficking and exploitative labor, including dangerous work in Nepal’s many brick factories. Children (and adults) who work in brick factories are exposed to lung-damaging levels of dust, extreme heat from kilns that fire bricks, and health problems stemming from extreme physical labor combined with poor diets. Furthermore, if they attend school at all, children who work in brick factories show poor academic performance and are often absent from school, which results in some of the lowest learning outcomes in the country.

To address these challenges, World Education uses a holistic approach to reach at-risk youth with basic education through several interventions, including coaching and mentoring in addition to scholarships for girls/children, nonformal education classes, and working with the Nepali government to strengthen local schools. At the same time, World Education works with the government to monitor factories for child labor abuses.

World Education’s Building Better Futures program enrolled Sharadha in a nonformal education class targeting children who are forced to work in the brick industry, and helped Sharadha transition back to formal school. Beyond basic education, World Education empowers children like Sharadha with tools and life skills to identify and avoid exploitative labor

Today, Sharadha is a bright and motivated seventh-grade student living in the Sarlahi district of Nepal. She plans to become a nurse so she can help people in her community. 

Sharadha is among thousands of children forced to endure life-threatening working conditions to support their families. In 2017, World Education and its partners supported the education of roughly 1,000 children in the brick factories, and helped more than 100 former child laborers like Sharadha re-enroll in school in Nepal. 

Learn more about World Education's work for girls' like Sharadha.