“Let’s Read” is a regional project initiated and ran by the Asia foundation, an international organisation that works in over 10 countries including Cambodia. “Let’s Read Cambodia” – the local version of the project – is an online platform for young Khmers where they can get free access to reading materials. The project is strongly supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, as well as several primary schools around the kingdom. At present, the project has English books.
Ouk Elita, programme officer of the Asia Foundation, said, “We desire to generate books in Khmer so they will be readable and understandable for every resident. Not everyone is able to use English fluently therefore it is a problem that needs to be addressed.”
With technology getting more advanced every single day and the availability of internet access anywhere, it is not impossible for the project to soon launch Khmer versions of books for every Cambodian. With the Khmer-written materials, more and more students will be encouraged to develop a habit of reading through their smartphones.
Ms Elita shared, “the project targets children in primary schools to alter the reading habit either in library or at home. To maintain kids’ interest, most of the books we’re publishing are about fairy tales and happy stories to create a happy mindset among the children.”
“Let’s Read Cambodia” aims to also address the insufficient supply of books for kids. Since the project is using a mobile platform, everyone can easily have access to books and references they can use for studying or research. Publishers will also have fast and easy method to publish their books. But even with this convenient online platform, the app developers are making sure the books published in “Let’s Read Cambodia” are of good quality, story-wise.
“Let’s Read Cambodia” also enables the parents to reduce consumption of printed books which undeniably cost higher than online reading. Consequently, children can read as many books as they desire.
The project also provides opportunity for writers to show off their talents and creativity as they can create contents easily. The criteria for publication depends on Asia Foundation. The organisation also provides training session on copy and photo editing so writers will also learn more things about publishing their own works.
Supported by the Asia Foundation, “Let’s Read Cambodia” will work tirelessly to improve reading in Cambodia, not only among children but among young adults as well. Developing a healthy habit of reading among Khmers will help them become better students, better people and better members of the society.