“I want to buy the license for We Love Reading books.  I can’t believe these are made in Jordan by Jordanians. The quality is amazing”- Carol Sakoin Vice President of Scholastic.

 

A group of students at NYU working with Dr. Dajani on bringing libraries and social-emotional support resources to refugee camps.

We are a group of master’s students at New York University studying International Education. For the fall semester, we took a class that focused on Political Issues within International Education and were tasked with researching and writing a grant for We Love Reading. Over the course of the semester, we worked closely with Dr. Rana Dajani to craft a product to be submitted for the USAID Middle East Education Umbrella Grant to bring libraries and social-emotional support resources to refugee camps in Yemen and Syria. Below are our personal biographies:

Ashley Lynch is currently a master’s student at New York University in International Education. A Midwest native, she received her undergraduate degree in Global Studies with a focus on European cultural studies from the University of Minnesota. While there, she participated and led the TandemPlus language exchange program and student group. She also interned in the university’s study abroad office. Upon graduation, she worked at Reading & Math, Inc., a Minneapolis nonprofit that combines literacy and math interventions for elementary and middle school students with the power of national service. When not studying, she enjoys cooking, reading, and learning new languages. She’s attempting to learn Arabic and Italian.

Meichen Jin is a graduate from the Michigan State University with a degree in Elementary Education. She was a teacher assistant at Lyons elementary school at Michigan and gave lessons of Science, Social Studies, Literacy and mathematics to little children. She worked as a tutor for Read to Succeed at Cavanaugh Elementary School, and conducted one-on-one tutoring sessions for children in the third grade to improve their reading and writing skills. Originally from Nanjing, China, she came to study International Education at NYU and hopes to focus on educational development in the future. Meichen enjoys trying different foods and watching action movies.

Alejandra Guevara graduated from Southwestern University cum laude with a major in International Studies and a focus in Latin America. This fall she started her master’s in International Education at NYU. She has worked in different private and non-profit organizations related to international education including Kaplan International, Education First, and Volunteers Abroad. She interned at the State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs in the public diplomacy and public affairs office in the Spring of 2015 and worked on several projects, including the presidential initiative 100,000 Strong in the Americas and the Young Leaders in the Americas Initiative (YLAI). She has extensive experience and training in English to Spanish translation and interpretation and is a former intern at the New York District Attorney's office in the Spanish Language Unit.

A group of students at NYU working with Dr. Dajani on bringing libraries and social-emotional support resources to refugee camps.

We are a group of master’s students at New York University studying International Education. For the fall semester, we took a class that focused on Political Issues within International Education and were tasked with researching and writing a grant for We Love Reading. Over the course of the semester, we worked closely with Dr. Rana Dajani to craft a product to be submitted for the USAID Middle East Education Umbrella Grant to bring libraries and social-emotional support resources to refugee camps in Yemen and Syria. Below are our personal biographies:

 

Ashley Lynch is currently a master’s student at New York University in International Education. A Midwest native, she received her undergraduate degree in Global Studies with a focus on European cultural studies from the University of Minnesota. While there, she participated and led the TandemPlus language exchange program and student group. She also interned in the university’s study abroad office. Upon graduation, she worked at Reading & Math, Inc., a Minneapolis nonprofit that combines literacy and math interventions for elementary and middle school students with the power of national service. When not studying, she enjoys cooking, reading, and learning new languages. She’s attempting to learn Arabic and Italian.

 

Meichen Jin is a graduate from the Michigan State University with a degree in Elementary Education. She was a teacher assistant at Lyons elementary school at Michigan and gave lessons of Science, Social Studies, Literacy and mathematics to little children. She worked as a tutor for Read to Succeed at Cavanaugh Elementary School, and conducted one-on-one tutoring sessions for children in the third grade to improve their reading and writing skills. Originally from Nanjing, China, she came to study International Education at NYU and hopes to focus on educational development in the future. Meichen enjoys trying different foods and watching action movies.

 

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Alejandra Guevara graduated from Southwestern University cum laude with a major in International Studies and a focus in Latin America. This fall she started her master’s in International Education at NYU. She has worked in different private and non-profit organizations related to international education including Kaplan International, Education First, and Volunteers Abroad. She interned at the State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs in the public diplomacy and public affairs office in the Spring of 2015 and worked on several projects, including the presidential initiative 100,000 Strong in the Americas and the Young Leaders in the Americas Initiative (YLAI). She has extensive experience and training in English to Spanish translation and interpretation and is a former intern at the New York District Attorney's office in the Spanish Language Unit.

Reading Turned Into Their Favorite Hobby

My name is Yman El-Turman, a member of the Youth Parliament of the Ministry of Youth, the UNICEF Youth Advisory Council and an activist in civil society organizations. One day I knew about a training workshop on reading aloud to children, which will be presented by "We Love Reading" in my area, which is Khalidiya in Mafraq. I decided to participate in it. Through training, I learned how to read the best for children.

After a while, I was employed by the Khalidiya Society for Special Education, which deals with functional and natural treatment. The students of the society are children with motor disabilities, hearing disabilities and minor, moderate mental disabilities. Therefore, I decided to implement what I learned from the training workshop (We love reading) to delight children, motivate them and attract them to read. initially those who suffer from motor disabilities only and then decided to start reading to all the children in the association and found the welcome of the teachers engaged in dealing with children with minor and moderate mental disabilities, so we began to conduct reading sessions for deaf students through sign language by explaining the images in the stories, and after Reading sessions became part of the center's activities. I started teaching the teachers how to best deal with students who suffer mental disabilities and how to attract their attention. Today, with the help of teachers, we regularly read to our students, we notice that students' enthusiasm may increase day by day. Reading turned into their favorite hobby.

 

We Love Reading Collaborates with ElevatED - NYUAD on a Children's Book Project

ElevatED from New York University Abu Dhabi will be working in collaboration with the international organization We Love Reading on a children’s book project. With a mission that closely aligns to ElevatED’s goals and vision of promoting literacy around the world, We Love Reading seeks to provide a complete, sustainable, accessible, cost-efficient, grassroots, flexible, “Read Aloud Program” to foster love of reading among children, empowering communities through activism of local volunteers from the Middle East, Africa and the rest of the developing world.

During spring 2018, ElevatED had virtual meetings with Dr. Rana Dajani, the founder of the organization. Dr. Dajani is a Jordanian molecular biologist and Associate Professor at Hashemite University. The organization We Love Reading has written more than 32 children’s books focused on gender, non-violence, environment, empathy, etc. With the aim of immersing in a project that will produce a physical outcome by combining the talents and capacities of several NYUAD students from different areas of study, ElevatED said they are eager to start working on its first children’s book next semester. The project would allow us to work in collaboration and learn from an international organization, from which we would receive constant feedback.

The book will be written in Arabic -with translation to English and even other languages- and include illustrations. Students interested in creative writing, design, illustration, education in emergencies, and languages would be able to put their talents into practice in a participative and engaging environment.

ElevatED believes that education is a crucial tool for social change, and wants to allow the immersion of NYUAD students in different ways to work on education in the present and future. The topic of the book will be related to refugee children and target readers will be children from 4-10 years old. The book will be used in future SIG’s activities with children in the NYUAD community and UAE. Also, the book will be used by We Love Reading. Students could use the book in their future projects or volunteering activities outside NYUAD.

Dr. Rana Dajani Participated & Spoke at The International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) Conference

Dr. Rana Dajani participated and spoke at The International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) conference on (Re-)Shaping Boundaries in Crisis and Crisis Response. in The Hague, the Netherlands on 27-29 August 2018. Dr. Dajani spoke about the learnings collected about adapting research methodologies for use in humanitarian crisis contexts. Where she discussed and explored the importance of rigorous research in delivering effective and impactful programs to beneficiaries in development and humanitarian fields. She also explored the challenges and ways to move forward in creating collaborative partnerships between academia and reactionaries in the field.

The International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) is a network engaged with the study of humanitarian crises caused by natural disaster, conflict or political instability. Humanitarian studies concern how humanitarian crises evolve, how they affect people and their institutions, communities and societies, and the responses they trigger.

Every two years, IHSA organizes the World Conference on Humanitarian Studies. The World Humanitarian Summit called for stronger bridges between humanitarian aid and development and urged a rethink of humanitarian governance and practice with much more space for authorities, service providers and populations of crisis-affected settings. This leaves many questions open regarding the importance of humanitarian principles and the effectiveness of the humanitarian response.

Reading is the Solution

 

I have been working in the Honorary Consulate of Jordan in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the last 12 years. So, I look for different news and info trying to promote tourism and foreign trade. One day, Icame across the name of Dr. Rana Dajani and I started to read about the program. And as people started inquiring some information about the program, I got interested to contact Dr. Dajani.

In Argentina we’ve common problems with drugs, violence and robbery, we get many messages that you have to be rich to become somebody, or girls think that they need to rely on their outer beauty. From my experience, as I have an 18 Y/O daughter, who I used to read for and she became a reading lover. Now, she is successful, a good student, strong, analytical most importantly, She has a voice and she use it! That’s the reason why I believe in the importance of reading for early childhood development.

I held the first session in a public school for fourth grade they were around 9 Y/O. Children were crazy at first, But when I started to read they all became quite. It was magic! Their teacher could not believe their reaction!

I’m going to be reading in schools to rise the impact. I will also have a meeting on with Syrian refugees who are a part of a government program, which I’ll start the idea with. Finally I’m contacting a local library shop. To start reading their and gain parents trust. 

Dr. Rana Dajani Awarded The Prestigious 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award

With her organization “We Love Reading” Rana Dajani promotes the experience of reading in children and empowers youth and women readers to become leaders in their communities. Dajani provides a solution for positive child development at low cost, which is highly sustainable and has reached thousands of youth and refugee children in Jordan and beyond. She receives a 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Award for social engagement and innovation, honouring her efforts to plant the love of reading in children and unlock their hidden potential to become changemakers.  

“When I started reading to the children in my neighbourhood in Jordan in 2006, I never dreamt that We Love Reading would reach as far as Vietnam and Argentina”, says Rana Dajani, Founder of We Love Reading. Since then, We Love Reading has spread to 39 countries, becoming a social movement. The innovative model provides a practical, cost efficient and sustainable grassroots approach that involves youth, women and the community to increase reading levels among children by focusing on the read aloud experience. To date, We Love Reading has trained 3,460 youth, women and men as readers, has conducted over 100,000 reading sessions, and has enriched the lives of more than 50,000 children, especially refugee children in camps, let alone in Jordan. We Love Reading has established 1,570 libraries across Jordan, and has developed 32 high-quality children’s books in Arabic as well as an online training course for communities in Arabic in English.

Simple and fun

“The We Love Reading model is a quick, fun method of introducing reading circles to children using community volunteers. It is ideal for engaging out-of-school children in literacy activities. The project does not require any infrastructure; simply a Trainee and some books”, says Dajani. The simple model can be implemented at low cost and on the spot and has the potential to reach many more children across the world.

Rana Dajani receives one of ten 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Awards for social innovation and engagement.   Rana Dajani plans to upgrade the online training course on how to start We Love Reading in your community by introducing the latest technology and pedagogical tools and offering additional languages. In addition, the mobile application will be upgraded to include multiple languages so that all We Love Reading ambassadors around the world can be connected to share challenges, success stories and resources to ensure sustainability, quality and continuity.

Awards for social innovation and engagement

The 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Awards are provided by the Swiss-based Jacobs Foundation, who commemorates the 10th anniversary of the bereavement of its founder Klaus J. Jacobs by honouring 10 outstanding social innovators. What the ten awardees have in common is their wish for social change and their restless personal social engagement. They are beyond talking – they act. The Awards ceremony takes place on November 30, 2018, in Zurich, Switzerland.

 

Everybody deserves to Read

Farzaneh Shahrtash, children books publisher, is working together with Esmaeel Azari to promote the love of reading in remote areas in Iran.

Shahrtash, an activist in her country spotted the unfortunate conditions that children in remote areas in Iran suffer from, which deprives them the right to read for fun. After a mutual connection introduced her to Dr. Rana Dajani, and the We Love Reading project, she started the Idea in Iran and is now helping children in city of Dehdasht, Iran to read in their own language.

To know more about the program running in Iran, please watch the video.

 

University of Pennsylvania Students Visit We Love Reading Office in Jordan

As a part of their Penn Abroad program, a group of students from the University of Pennsylvania, visited the We Love Reading head office in Jordan.
The students met Dr. Rana Dajani, Founder and director of We Love Reading, were she shared the story of the intiative, the impact of the program on different areas such as early childhood development, woman empowerment social entreprenuership and social emotional learning.

The Team also previewed our profitional work in book development, sharing the 32 children stories developed by our great team, the students were impressed with the quality of the books, and shared their thoughts and questions with Dr. Dajani and the We Love Reading staff, and we were happy to see their engagement and excitement towards the We Love Reading idea.

We Love Reading at the MIT science and technology conference 2018

Dr. Rana Dajani, the founder and Manager of Taghyeer Organization, Represented We Love Reading in MIT science and technology conference 2018, which was organized by MIT Arab student organization. Dr. Rana was a key note speaker at the conference and shared the story of how We Love Reading began in a small neighborhood in Jordan, which evolved to spread to more than 38 countries.

 

The Annual Science and Technology Award, SCITECH, has been a flagship event of MIT’s Arab Students’ Organization (ASO). At SCITECH, the ASO has been celebrating the contributions of a Lifetime Achievement Award winner, an Arab or Arab-American who had a lasting imprint on science and technology. And this year Dr. Rana was privileged to be awarded a shield in recognition for her work as a scientist and an activist in children rights to read and be read to.

WLR had an exhibit volunteers from MIT and other universities in Boston signing up to help WLR develop its mobile app and online course.

Among the speakers were Talal Abu Ghazaleh, Senator at the Jordanian Upper House, Vice-Chair of UN Global Compact, chairman and founder of the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization, Abdallah S. Jummah, Former President & CEO of Saudi Aramco, Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Investment Bank and Co-Chairman of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, and many other influential and prolific leaders in tech industrial.

You didn't miss anything, you can check all the conference on the SciTech MIT ASO Youtube channel.

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