Book Reach is a Malaysian registered charity that ‘recycles’ English reading books from a growing number of international schools in Asia for under-resourced schools in Nepal and East Malaysia.
Since 2013, the project has delivered more than 70,000 books – mainly primary-level ‘readers’ and secondary non-fiction – to 24 schools in Nepal and seven primary schools in Sabah.
Book Reach was launched in 2013 by retired teacher Doreen Johnstone, who had been working as an advisor to the Nepali Department of Education. From a first year recycling 250 kg of books from three donor schools, the charity today delivers approximately 3,000 kg of books each year from 12 donor schools in Malaysia and Singapore.
Working in close partnership with the Hetauda Education Development Centre in Nepal and the Malaysian Department of Education, Book Reach accompanies its books with a comprehensive programme of library furnishing and literacy training for local teachers.
In Nepal, Book Reach’s work is supervised by Krishna Gopal Shrestha, a senior teacher at Adhunik Higher Secondary school, who oversees the provision of books to beneficiary schools, as well as meetings with headteachers and local education officials.
In Malaysia, Book Reach’s work is strongly supported by Muarifin Monchoeri, the Director of the Academic Sector of Sabah’s State Education Department.
Doreen Johnstone has taught in schools and managed education programmes in England, Kenya, Singapore, Nepal and Malaysia, where she now lives. From 2007 to 2010, she worked as an advisor to Nepal’s Ministry of Education and built up a broad network of education officials and teachers, who now form the ‘backbone’ of Book Reach.
Doreen’s personal links with schools across Asia have put her in a unique position to act as a conduit of books and resources from these schools. Books are airfreighted from donor schools to Kathmandu and Kota Kinabalu – from where they are delivered directly to their receiving schools.
Doreen and her project staff collaborate directly with the headteachers and librarians of each beneficiary school, as well as local education officials, to ensure that the books are incorporated as a key resource of the local English language curriculum.
When funding allows, library furnishings – including shelves, tables, chairs, carpets and cushions – are also made and supplied to the schools with their consignments of books.
Book Reach has built up a core group of donor schools in Singapore and Malaysia, which donate reading books from their library collections:
In Kuala Lumpur:
How can you help us?
If you would like to help us bring the joy of reading to some of Nepal's most disadvantaged communities, we would love to hear from you!