UNESCO recently launched the Translate a Story campaign to promote early age reading during the COVID-19 crisis. This collaboration between the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), UNESCO, ADEA, UNHCR, The Global Book Alliance, and other partners aims to provide reading material to children in the language they speak at home.
UNESCO and partners are coordinating the translation of books in the most vulnerable countries that are undergoing COVID-19 school closures. The translated books are then published on the Global Digital Library where they can be accessed for reading on digital devices or in print format. The Library was launched to increase the availability of high-quality early grade reading resources in underserved languages.
Over 1.5 billion children are now learning at home because their schools have been shut down due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This initiative is an effort to make high-quality supplementary reading materials available for children to learn at home in a language they speak and understand. By providing high-quality reading materials in all languages, including those that are traditionally underserved, all students are given a chance to continue their reading journeys at home.
The Global Digital Library already offers reading resources in 71 languages, and UNESCO is currently working with seven additional countries to translate more books and add more content. Those countries include Bangladesh (who started the translation of books into Bengali and five other ethnic languages), Cambodia (into Khmer), Kyrgyzstan (into Kyrgyz and Russian), Uzbekistan (already translated 130 books into Uzbek), Palestine (into Arabic), Qatar (into Arabic), and Tonga (into Tongan).