This Holiday Season, Change a Student’s Life in 3 Minutes!

DSC_0416 by guest blogger, Melody Zavala, Director of Books for Asia at The Asia Foundation

It’s the holiday season once again. A time when many of us select special gifts for our families and friends, hurry from one party to another, and maybe even take a day off to curl up with a good book.  It’s also a time when we look for a way to share the holiday magic with children, especially those who lack essential items. I’m excited to tell you about a way that you can directly change the lives of hundreds of students without it costing you anything. Anything, but your time. In only three minutes, you can empower a young student with a gift that will inspire lifelong curiosity, growth, and success.

The Asia Foundation, which has been headquartered in San Francisco for 55 years, is running a free online voting contest that will send copies of a favorite children’s book to children in Bangladesh who has never before owned their own book.  Watch a short 3-minute video about the project and vote for Curious George Learns the Alphabet, Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Goodnight Moon, or What do People Do All Day, and each child in the featured community will get a copy of the winning book. A follow-up video showing the arrival of the winning book will be posted on December 16.  Voting ends on December 14.

DSC_0650The Bede are once-nomadic river people who have limited access to basic services and whose children rarely have a chance to go to school. In order to provide these children with an education, The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program partnered with a Bangladeshi organization called the Subornogram Foundation, which has set up a “boat school” to make it easier for the children to attend school. The challenge now is to stock the school with books.

If you think this sounds too easy, you can watch a video about a similar effort we completed for a small rural hilltribe village school in Thailand. The winning book, Dr. Seuss’ beloved Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, was delivered into the hands of each child in Morwakee Village on November 1st. Click here to watch the “Return to Morwakee” video.

Join us in this special effort that will change lives, and please share this video with your loved ones. Happy holidays!

Melody Zavala joined The Asia Foundation in 1999 and is currently the Director of Books for Asia, The Asia Foundation’s longest running program. Books for Asia distributes one million new books and resources each year to students, educators, and community leaders throughout Asia.