Dayan Empowerment Foundation
Dayan Empowerment Foundation is located at Qaleh Morqi district in southern Tehran. The district faces many difficulties due to being populated. It has been isolated because of the two railways that separate it from the rest of the city. It also lacks certain amenities such as educational, cultural and health centers.
Dayan, with a thorough understanding of the district’s situation, has been established to help mothers and children ameliorate their conditions. They believe that the best way of supporting the damaged, deprived children of this district is to empower their mothers. In order to support the children of these mothers, in March 2019, Dayan Empowerment Foundation asked the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature to implement the Read with Me program in this center.
The Read with Me team of experts hence visited the center and held meetings with its authorities. According to the past experiences of Read with Me in such districts under such circumstances, the team suggested that in addition to establishing a child-centered library and holding Reading Aloud sessions, educating preschool children by the beginning of the next academic year is also of importance. Therefore, they proposed a project in which preschoolers could benefit from Basic Literacy Creative Education through Literature in this center.
In May 2019, the Read with Me team started its activities in Dayan. Training tutors and designing the library according to Read with Me child-centered library standards, were the first measures taken. On 25 June 2019, the library officially celebrated its opening ceremony. Since then, this beautiful library with more than 1400 books, has warmly welcomed children to use its facilities.
For the opening ceremony held in a local park, tutors set up four stations: Reading Aloud, Painting, Handicrafts and Q&A. In these stations, mothers and children were informed of the activities of the library. Then, children were divided into different age groups and visited the library. The tutors and experts used this opportunity to explain for each group of mothers the importance of books, Reading Aloud and its effectiveness for their children. Afterwards, children were made members of the library and were informed of the library’s schedule. Moreover, mothers supported the idea of participating in Reading Aloud and Reading with Babies and Toddlers sessions.
Dayan Library is meant to serve at least 350 children and young adults. For three months, supervised by a Read with Me expert, a team consisting of 4 Read with Me volunteers will work at the library. During this time, Dayan tutors and librarians will participate in the Read with Me workshops and receive the necessary trainings through internship. After that, the volunteers will visit the library every month to supervise and give the necessary guidance to Dayan librarians.
In this project, the library has allocated a space to preschool classes. Accordingly, in addition to suitable library resources, Basic Literacy Creative Education packages have been provided for two preschool classes.
Read with Me also suggested holding Reading Aloud sessions for mothers who work at the center. These sessions are open for the young girls of these working mothers as well. Reading Aloud to mothers can lift their spirits, start lively discussions as well as increasing their cooperation in educational and reading programs.
The Read with Me program and Dayan Empowerment Foundation hope to enrich the lives of these children through understanding their needs and protecting them from their harmful social environment.