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First Book Completes Successful Pilot Project in Rural India, Providing 700,000 New Books to Children in Need

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In collaboration with Books for Asia, Pratham, Manodharma, and other recognized partners, the nonprofit social enterprise First Book completed its first-ever, large-scale distribution of books to schools and programs across India. The distribution of more than 700,000 books concludes First Book’s year-long pilot project in India.

With books donated by Disney Publishing Worldwide and financial support from KPMG, the Guru Krupa Foundation, and several US-based donors, this pilot project provided hundreds of thousands of books to programs serving children in need across rural India. In addition to distributing new books to schools in Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Karnataka; First Book and its partners also donated thousands of books to a range of programs serving children in need, including Books for Asia, Pratham, the Sri Aurobindo Society, the Satya Special School, the Sam Vedana Foundation, the SR Trust, the Niraj and the Mahatma Educational Societies, and the Vanasthali Rural Development Centre.

Since 1992, First Book has distributed over 135 million books to children in need throughout the United States and Canada. The project is the organization’s largest distribution of books in India to date.

Raj Rajagopal, founder and president of Manodharma, professor of geographical and sustainability sciences, and founder and director of the India Winterim Program at the University of Iowa, played an instrumental role in supporting the project. Over the last decade, Rajagopal has cultivated an elaborate network of organizations such as schools and nonprofits in India that serve to empower its children, especially those from low-income families across the nation.

“The brand new books from First Book were met with an outpouring of support from our partners, their boards of trustees, their friends and family, and other nearby world-renowned institutions, all committing infrastructural resources, warehouse space, transportation, professional staff, volunteers–and last but not least–the financial resources to deliver the books to children in-need across India,” said Rajagopal. “Time and again, we found that the key to solving the proverbial ‘last mile problem’ was to involve the local community.”

“Our distribution of 700,000 new books and educational resources to programs and schools serving low-income children across rural India speaks directly to the power of partnerships,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “By collaborating with publishers, NGOs, funders and a wide range of education and community leaders, we were able to accomplish our shared goal of expanding educational opportunities for some of the hardest to reach children in India.”

“It’s great to see First Book venturing into India,” said Mukund Padmanabhan, founder of Guru Krupa Foundation. “There is certainly a great need for such services, and we are happy to extend the Guru Krupa Foundation’s support to First Book’s programs in India, while continuing to support their programs in the U.S.”

As First Book concludes the pilot project in India, it continues to serve schools and programs worldwide serving children in need through the First Book Global Marketplace. The First Book Global Marketplace enables educators from around the world to obtain affordable, culturally relevant books and educational resources for the kids they serve. Schools and programs serving 70 percent or more children from low-income families, children with disabilities or families affected by recent natural disasters can sign up online at www.firstbookglobal.org for access.

About First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 135 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. By making new, high-quality books and educational resources available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. For more information, please visit us online or follow our latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

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