Our mission


Ethiopia Reads’ vision is to empower and strengthen communities through the art of learning and the science of teaching. We believe that providing quality schools, books and learning initiatives that engage both the creative and logical mind will lead to a more resourceful generation of leaders in Ethiopia. ER collaborates with Ethiopian communities to build schools, plant libraries, teach teachers, boost literacy, put pencils and paintbrushes into the hands of thousands of children, and provide families with the tools to improve their lives.

Ethiopia Reads’ mission is to bring reading to children wherever they are, even in the most remote places. Where there are no roads, let alone classrooms, ER deploys a Horse-Powered Literacy program. A teacher on a horse can reach children who have never held a book. That teacher reads to them, teaches numbers and letters, and engages entire marginalized communities through storytelling and instruction. In Ethiopia’s most urban settings, in Addis Ababa, ER engages young athletes through the Team Tesfa running program, and we reach even more children through our urban mobile literacy program that supports existing reading spaces with materials, training, and volunteers.

Literacy requires the buy-in of parents and whole communities. With that in mind, ER sponsors reading and book events that attract families and community leaders. Staff in Addis have partnered with local organizations, such as the Ethiopian Writers Association, to host community book festivals. The organization also sponsors Family Literacy days in ER libraries, where parents and care-givers get a chance to participate in their child’s learning. Even the librarians on horseback to those remote, under-served locations find themselves surrounded by entire villages, with children, parents, and elders all listening to the stories and instruction.

There are no shortcuts or gimmicks to addressing children’s literacy. There is only the hard work done in the field. Ethiopia Reads’ past experiences teach the importance of crafting a comprehensive campaign that addresses access, awareness, and quality of instruction. In the span of over a decade, Ethiopia Reads has impacted over one million children throughout the country and the organization serves as a model for others to follow in support of the next generation of literate parents, teachers, and leaders of Ethiopia.

He who learns, teaches.Ethiopian Proverb