Literacy Initiative

The Literacy Initiative is an organization that provides books and school supplies to underprivileged children. This organization was started by 14-year old, Agha Haider, in January of 2017 and has been rapidly expanding into many school districts. 

The Problem

Throughout the world, many families live in poverty. Many kids and teens don’t have the tools and resources to have a good education. One in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade fail to graduate from high school, four times the rate for children with proficient reading skills. The main reason for this is lack of money and resources to buy books and have a proper education. As a young child, I was very fortunate to have bookshelves upon bookshelves of books. As I grew older, I realized that there are many kids out in the world that don’t have a book to read at night and that there are kids out in the world that didn’t have the same reading experience that I had. Illiteracy among people in poverty is a major issue and the Literacy Initiative strives to change that.

The Solution

The Literacy Initiative currently has a few programs to help change this. The first program we have is the annual book drive each spring. We collect books in schools and local businesses and donate them to organizations that work closely with underprivileged children. We have supported organizations such as the Little Bit Foundation, Children’s Home Society of Missouri, Crisis Nursery of St. Louis, Ready to Learn, and many more. The second program we have is the literary club. The literary club is a club that we have in schools in areas with poverty. Students choose a book depending on the genre for the month and we provide the book to each student free of charge. We also host an annual writing contest in schools in areas with poverty throughout St. Louis. Winners receive a backpack, school supplies, and other cool prizes! This year, the winners received a congrats video from Olympic Silver Medalist, Chris Mazdzer. Currently, we host fundraisers where we sell our Literacy Initiative wristbands in storefronts throughout the St. Louis area.

On July 29th, the Literacy Initiative provided free school supplies to over 150 kids throughout the Ferguson-Florissant School District. All students that participated in the Back to School Event live below the poverty line.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Literacy Initiative. The funds would go towards expanding our literary club into more schools throughout the St. Louis area and expanding into the Los Angeles, California area. With the funds, we’d be able to provide books to many more students.

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