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.