Kobo has engaged in a new initiative that will see close to 3,500 Touch e-Readers distributed to Native youth in Canada. The company is also contributing close to $100,000 to to develop a program in conjunction with Free The Children to help improve literacy.
Kobo and Free The Children are committed to empowering youth across Canada to develop their imaginations throughout the year-long partnership. A cross-country speaking tour begins October 1st, where this initiative will be brought to various Aboriginal schools and community centers across Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Additionally, the partnership includes work with Frontier College, a nation-wide, volunteer-based, literacy organization, to provide resources to existing Aboriginal literacy programs.
Each Kobo Touch will be pre-loaded with books by Aboriginal authors, such as Lightning Rider by Jacqueline Guest, Catching Spring by Sylvia Olsen, and Him Standing by Richard Wagamese. This should build some immediate synergy and get the kids reading books right away.
“Literacy is fundamental in any young person’s education,” said Marc Kielburger, co-founder, Free The Children. “We are so thankful for Kobo’s commitment and generous donation to help us shed light on the importance of education and literacy, while bringing to life Aboriginal stories and culture to youth across Canada, enriching the lives of young people and helping to preserve a piece of Canada’s history.”
This new partnership is launching during a time when literacy rates in Native children are at an all time low. A recent study conducted by TD stated that slightly more than 60% of Aboriginal Canadians do not have the proper literacy skills to participate in society. This new project is trying to focus on the the 46% of the population that does not live in urban areas and tends not to have internet connectivity. eReaders are the perfect solution because they can be given away with a number books loaded on them.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.