For parents, their biggest goal is to ensure their child’s future is bright, many make sacrifices in their own lives to provide this for their children, especially when it comes to education.
This month’s feature is MYReaders a non-profit organisation and a long-standing customer of ours. Their focus is on ensuring that every child in Malaysia is provided the opportunity to learn to read in English.
We spoke to Rachel and asked her to introduce to us about the organisation;
“MYReaders officially was established in December 2015. They work with communities and schools to raise literacy among children by providing high quality learning resources and support towards the vision that every child will be able to read.
It was founded by four Teach For Malaysia Fellows who were teaching in high-need secondary schools. During their time in school, they realized that students could not read basic English sentences or follow lessons in class. Together, Alex, Charis, Rachel, and Sue Yen decided to create their own literacy toolkit based on the Malaysian context. And, build it into a structured reading program.”
She continues by saying, “From 2015 to 2022, MYReaders has worked with communities all over Malaysia. We are proud to say we have impacted more than 34,216 children, 1695 parents, 850 teachers, and 1800 volunteers. With continuous support, MYReaders aims to reach more communities so that illiteracy among children becomes an issue of the past.”
There was clearly such genuine passion in their need to ensure that quality education is available to all children of all backgrounds. The founders had all began in Teach For Malaysia (TFM), a fellowship that helps bring people to the forefront of schools and communities to find solutions to the current issues in the education system.
We asked her to tell us a little about the experience she has had working in such a community-based organisation.
“Charis was a TFM fellow teaching English in a secondary school in Kedah. His students who were 13 to 16 years old, and from low-income backgrounds, could not read. At the start, every day he would plan engaging learning activities but they could not participate. He would see students who were naturally bright but disengaged, demotivated and many eventually dropped out of school. Because of their backgrounds, they lacked access to books and reading from a young age, which most people who are more privileged take for granted. They started off school at a disadvantage and without effective intervention. Their life trajectories were affected.”
It’s not hard to see what drives their passion with stories like these and it breaks our hearts to know that so many more children could have grown to be innovative and productive members of the community that would make the country proud.
But Rachel assures us there have been some incredibly proud moments as well. She tells us her experience;
“Every child who eagerly reads everything at the end of the program, who starts of saying that they cannot read and progresses to saying I can read! Each one if these kids are a stepping stone to the day when every child has the opportunity to have a good life. Last year in our project targeting 2000 students and parents from low-income households in 6 states, parents have told us that they have newfound belief in their own ability to guide their children in learning.“
But just as there were moments of pride and joy, there must have been moments that were so challenging, that it would have led to long and dispirited days. Rachel tells us there are many challenges to this goal, and explains a little about them;
“Misconception or lack of acknowledgment, that low literacy is still an issue in society. Due to the lack of accurate information, many segments of society are not aware that illiteracy is a huge problem in our country. It has long-term consequences on marginalized individuals especially, preventing them from being able to escape the cycle of poverty. There needs to be greater awareness of the complexity of the issue. We hope this will spur the nation toward action.
We are advocating for children from all backgrounds to gain literacy because we believe it is a key to self-agency – the ability to make their own choices for their own lives and access equal opportunities.”
It is an important cause and one that will take time and everyone’s effort to get to the end. It also has its on set of requirements to continue to help all the people that are unfortunately not as privileged.
Why Cube Self-Storage?
“It allows us to keep track of our assets – workbook and storybooks all in one place and takes away our worry of needing to store the products in the right conditions since we have a climate-controlled unit.
As a non-profit organization, we used to store all of our inventory stock in our homes as we do not have an office. Having a storage solution has enabled us to not worry about storage anymore.”
What was your storage requirement, and how is your experience with Cube’s services so far?
“We needed a safe, easily accessible, and well-ventilated location to store our literacy toolkits. While seemingly small at first sight, we’re surprised with how many books we managed to store. We are very pleased with the services provided by Cube. Especially the customer service. Staff has always been very responsive to our inquiries and needs. The security staff on site is also always very helpful and kind.”
MYReaders clearly have a very long and tough road ahead of them. However, we are reassured that with the burning passion that fills them and such clear minds set on their goals. The future may shine with literate and well-educated young members of society.
How can our readers find you?
“We’re actively looking for supporters and funders for our programs to enable more children to be able to read. Join us to sponsor communities or as a volunteer to teach a child to read.
If you’re a parent with children aged 2 to 10 years or struggling to read, you can purchase our literacy toolkit using this form to support our work. The MYReaders Literacy Toolkit (a workbook and storybook set) – is dyslexic-friendly and written in the Malaysian context. For more information about MYReaders, visit the website.
The MYReaders Literacy Toolkit is designed to bring children from illiteracy to literacy. It consists of a workbook, 33 Decodable storybooks and 15 Comprehension storybooks.
The Literacy Toolkit encapsulates the four Essential Components of Reading, aligned to the following features:
i. Step-by-step progression
ii. Tested and proven to work with Malaysian students.
iii. Uses systematic phonics-based intervention
iv. Easily adaptable for students of different reading levels
The books are written in a structured manner to help children build up their foundation on phonics. They are written in the Malaysian context so that children may connect their understanding of the stories to their understanding of the world.”