Geographical Location: Gouriyeh, Khuzestan
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Start Date: October 2019
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Background

Khouzestan is a southern region of Iran which suffered from the flooding in spring 2019. Ever since the flood subsided, the hardships of children and families has doubled in this deprived area. In May and June, Read with Me volunteers traveled to Khouzestan to evaluate the conditions and needs of flooded villages. Simultaneously, they read books to children, and discovered people with potential for implementing the Read with Me program.

After evaluating the capacities of the region, an area called Gouriyeh was selected. Gouriyeh is a highly populated region with 56 villages in its vicinity all of which are in need of assistance. Here, Read with Me has focused on training and empowering girls and young women to become librarians and local promoters.Establishing a child-centered library as a permanent base for reading promotion is central to the Gouriyeh Library Project. The location of the library is part of the parental house of one of the locals.

In June 2019, a team of Read with Me experts travelled to the region to hold Basic Literacy Creative Education workshops. They trained 35 women and provided them with book packages and backpacks with which they started holding read-aloud sessions in the nearby villages. Since children are bilingual in this region, such education can be effective in developing their speech and reading skill.

Library Establishment

In October 2019, another group of Read with Me experts travelled to the region to establish the library and train librarians. During their visit, they held Child-centered Libraries workshop for librarians, promoters, volunteers and kindergarten tutors. The participants were introduced to the procedures and functions of a child-centered library with a rich literacy environment.

On the next day, participants demanded the Reading with Babies and Toddlers workshop. Therefore, this workshop was held for 13 mothers and 18 babies.

Renovating the library location and preparing library equipment has benefited greatly from local benefactors. This library has now more than 1200 books, handbooks and activity sheets and has been designed based on Read with Me child-centered library standards. The standards include appropriate chair, table and bookshelf heights. Puppet theater curtains, book displays and the color palette have also created a delightful atmosphere in the library.

The library has allocated a portion of its schedule to holding preschool and kindergarten classes. The need of children in preschool education along with the demands of locals led to this decision.

Following this, another trip was scheduled in November during which experts held a series of workshops on literature and reading aloud. In these workshops, topics such as children’s literature, quality books, story elements, picture books, reading aloud techniques and dramatic arts were discussed.

This post is also available in: Persian