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IMPULSA - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona
IMPULSA - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona

We must turn our personal or professional success into improving the lives of others.



29/06/2012

It all started with a family trip to Ecuador. In an orphanage, we discovered a library the door of which was padlocked because the books were obsolete and of no interest to anyone. I was suddenly aware that I needed to take an important decision. At the time I was working for Amazon.com and was immersed in a world of technology and books. I had to do something!

I thought a device like a digital book reader could change that sight of an empty, padlocked library. A mobile phone would be able to connect the library in Ecuador to a universal library. I therefore decided to devote my life to bringing books to children all over the world.

Amazon gave us the first 30 digital readers to get the project off the ground. We started talking with major publishing companies so they could donate us some free titles. We then went to talk to heads of public education authorities in some African countries.

We discovered that millions of children in Africa have never owned a book. There is even a popular saying "If you want to hide money in Africa, put it in a book and no one will find it".

We started to distribute e-readers at a school in Ghana and downloaded hundreds of books onto each of them.

Within a few hours, the children grew interested in having fun with the e-readers and we realised that we could really make a difference in their lives.

In just 2 years we have managed to send 182,013 e-readers to Ghana, Kenya and Uganda at a very low cost. Now, these children read every day, which will improve their chances and quality of life.

One of the girls in Ghana has read over 100 books since we started our programme. She now wants to be a writer and encourage reading among other children.

Our next goal is to send a million e-readers to Africa.

We are now also introducing messages from their idols (such as famous football players) in e-readers to encourage children to read more.

Each of us in our lives will reach a point of some success at which a big decision must be taken. The time has come to do something different; to move on from success to do something significant and have an impact on those in need.

I hope all of us in this room will be able to do so one day: to turn our personal or professional success into improving the lives of others.

By reading these children will change the world and we want to help them to do so.

 

Impulsa - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona

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