ProLiteracy is the oldest and largest nongovernmental literacy organization in the world. In 62 countries, ProLiteracy's literacy and action programs are creating powerful connections between people, institutions and ideas. In the process, they are generating innovative solutions to the problems of poverty, disease, violence and injustice.
Though it is based in and maintains programs throughout the United States, ProLiteracy Worldwide partners with grassroots organizations in Asia, Africa and Latin America through its International Programs Division. ProLiteracy monitors progress and programming through conferences, visits and correspondence. And community groups that have long-standing relationships with ProLiteracy handle day-to-day supervision at the local level. Women run most of the programs, which women and children benefit the most from.
While most of their literacy programs throughout the world have a strong focus on family literacy—especially the education of women—ProLiteracy's five partners in the Dominican Republic and Haiti have established community development programs, and each has a children's program as an important component to their work. This 2007 grant, given in conjunction with Oprah's Book Club selection The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier, would provide over 4,000 children with books of their own to keep, as well as replenish or establish libraries at three of the programs with reference books, children's story books and puzzle books. Their strong presence in this area with staff in residence makes them an ideal partner for us as we reach some of the most underserved children.
ProLiteracy works with six small organizations that would benefit from this grant for two years. Four are in the Dominican Republic, with a concentration of Haitian immigrants, and two are actually in Haiti. In areas in the Dominican Republic where there is a large population of Haitian immigrants, they are exploited because they are illiterate in Spanish and can only hold menial jobs and cannot afford school. Their own books to keep will mean a lot to these children who have so little.
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Note: In 1997 ProLiteracy (then Literacy Volunteers of America) donated books to Angola Prison in Louisiana on The Oprah Winfrey Show about A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines. This latest award is given in conjunction with Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.