Taking place annually around the world, International Literacy Day shines a light on the importance of literacy as a human right. It calls for increased efforts in the advancement of the literacy agenda towards a more literate, equitable and sustainable society.
Under this year’s theme “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide”, the 40K family got together to help raise awareness of the importance of accessible literacy education and digital learning opportunities for all.
Unfortunately, amid the COVID19 crisis, the rapid shift to online learning has magnified the inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities in many regions across the globe. It has been a reminder of the critical importance of inclusive, technology-enabled learning that leaves no-one behind.
At 40K, we are proud to play a part in empowering children in under-served, under-resourced communities across India, Cambodia and beyond, and continue our commitment towards the important mission—narrowing the digital divide.
Please join us in wishing our students, and all children across the globe, a happy International Literacy Day!
The 40K Foundation is a registered charitable organisation. Your donations will help us to advance our mission in providing meaningful English literacy education and digital learning opportunities to children in low-resource communities.
Last month marked the end of the 40K Foundation’s partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) InnovationXchange. From the time we won the Google Impact Challenge ‘Technology Against Poverty Prize’ in 2017, and continuing through the MIT Solve ‘Workforce of the Future’ challenge, the Australian Government has so graciously stood by us, helping us to chart a path forward and bringing us to where we are today.
Reflecting on the dynamic four-year partnership, 40K Group CEO, Swetha Prakash said:
“The 40K family is immensely grateful for the constant support and guidance we have received from the Australian Government. It has been a collaboration in the truest sense; one based on mutual respect, a strong desire to make a difference, and an unwavering commitment to solve complex problems together.”
Our Annual Report for 2020 is now available to view and download. In this, we are proud to share with you all the highs and lows of a year that changed the world forever, and which none of us at 40K will forget anytime soon.
It’s a trying time for our 4,000+ students in Cambodia.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and containment measures has reversed decades of economic progress. Extreme poverty has come roaring back across the countryside, and existing inequalities between rural and urban households have expanded greatly.
All the while, school closures have effectively locked children out of school. Where those in middle-class urban households have been able to access online programs, our students in low-income rural households are falling further and further behind.
While we at 40K have been quick to adapt to the ever-evolving situation, working tirelessly to develop learning solutions that our students can access on a parent’s phone, we admit that these are no replacement for our technology-aided classroom lessons.
This is why it’s so important that students can jump straight back into the PLUS English program as soon as schools reopen, picking up right where they left off. That their families are currently unable to afford the $1 monthly contribution should not stand in the way of them resuming the lessons they enjoy so much and gain so much from.
By making a tax-deductible* donation, you can help us waive the monthly contribution for students whose families have been hit hardest by COVID-19. For every dollar you donate, you will enable one child to participate in PLUS English lessons for a month at no cost to their struggling families.
On behalf of the students and their families, we thank you for your support during this difficult time.
15-year-old Arunny is in the seventh grade at a small school in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. She is the oldest of four children and is the first member of her family to attend high school.
Her parents, after dropping out to support their families, never received an education beyond primary school—her mother works in a garment factory and her father drives a taxi for a living.
With the big hopes of one day becoming a doctor, she realised early on that learning English was an important step in her journey towards this goal. But despite trying hard to learn, the accustomed methods did not quite work for her.
Her teacher, trained in Khmer, had not taught in English before. And with Arunny being a visual learner, she was not being supported through the standard reading of her textbook.
“When I study with the teacher, I have to follow the teacher’s process of teaching. Sometimes it is too fast, and sometimes it is too slow,” Arunny said.
On top of this, she had no one to practice speaking with, as none of her friends or family speak English well enough—Khmer is the language of choice for the community.
Arunny had begun to lose her confidence and was thinking of dropping out of school, when in 2018, her school introduced40KPLUS English lessons and transformed the way she was able to learn.
“With the [android] tablet, I can learn for as long as I want, and as fast as I want,” she said. “If I need to clarify something, I can go back to the lesson on the tablet. I also have the chance to discuss it with my friend who sits next to me.”
“The lessons on the tablet are designed with sound that allows me to hear everything in the voice of a native speaker. The practice and tests are exciting and give me instant feedback.”
Today Arunny continues to attend school, saying that she spends as much time as she can on the tablet because it motivates her to want to learn more.
Arunny’s story is one of many that has been positively transformed by the PLUS English program. Through its interactive platform and teachings, PLUS English hopes to continue supporting dreams and bringing opportunity to children like Arunny across Cambodia.