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Reading creates a healthy, vibrant society by empowering people to think critically and lead the change they seek in their communities.

RELEVANCE & CONTEXT

It is widely accepted that poverty and limited functional literacy reinforce one another. Education system limitations result in poor literacy levels, which affect economic status, and conversely, pupils from deprived backgrounds have less educational success. Studies have found that children with limited access to books and other texts, without quiet spaces in which to read, and with little support from adults or peers, fall behind in literacy development. Interrupted schooling can also have a detrimental effect on reading levels. Already prior to the pandemic, refugee children globally were twice as likely to be out of education as their non-refugee counterparts. Further, because of learning loss experienced by children in Jordan and across the MENA region due to COVID-19 school closures, it is urgent that the foundations for a reading culture and reading recovery interventions are built, to support overall educational and socio-economic outcomes of children, including refugee children. Asmaa’s story highlights the impact that can be achieved when communities are empowered to develop such solutions from within. Through the ‘Lessen the Gap’ campaign, The Big Heart Foundation aims to raise awareness and funds to support solutions to humanitarian development challenges in the MENA region that have been exacerbated as a result of the COVID pandemic.

— We Love Reading

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It is widely accepted that poverty and limited functional literacy reinforce one another. Education system limitations result in poor literacy levels, which affect economic status, and conversely, pupils from deprived backgrounds have less educational success. Studies have found that children with limited access to books and other texts, without quiet spaces in which to read, and with little support from adults or peers, fall behind in literacy development. Interrupted schooling can also have a detrimental effect on reading levels. Already prior to the pandemic, refugee children globally were twice as likely to be out of education as their non-refugee counterparts. Further, because of learning loss experienced by children in Jordan and across the MENA region due to COVID-19 school closures, it is urgent that the foundations for a reading culture and reading recovery interventions are built, to support overall educational and socio-economic outcomes of children, including refugee children. Asmaa’s story highlights the impact that can be achieved when communities are empowered to develop such solutions from within. Through the ‘Lessen the Gap’ campaign, The Big Heart Foundation aims to raise awareness and funds to support solutions to humanitarian development challenges in the MENA region that have been exacerbated as a result of the COVID pandemic.
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LESSEN THE GAP

'Lessen the Gap' is a campaign launched by The Big Heart Foundation to channel awareness and funds towards Post-COVID humanitarian development work in the MENA region. The campaign focuses on 4 sectors that were all heavily impacted by the pandemic: Education; Livelihoods; Healthcare; Protection. Main partners for the Post-COVID Programme include UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, and UNHCR with multiple local and international NGO partner such as We Love Reading supporting in program implementation, research, workgroups, needs assessments, and advocacy. As part of the Education pillar of the Programme, The Big Heart Foundation is partnering with UNICEF and We Love Reading to support reading promotion in Jordan with a component focused on supporting refugee communities within camp (highlighted through Asmaa’s story) and urban settings.
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Existing humanitarian response plans that were formulated for the MENA region prior to the COVID-19 outbreak must be revised to address the additional needs the pandemic has caused and will cause in the near future, both health-and non-health-related. The campaign’s objective is to lessen the gap in access to services during and beyond this transitional phase. The main aim of The Big Heart Foundation’s Post-COVID Programme and the ‘Lessen the Gap’ campaign is to empower communities through the road to recovery and beyond. The project selection draws on data and analysis from existing research, commissioned needs assessment, workgroup discussions, and partner recommendations. Central to the design of the Programme and selection of projects is the sustainability and long-term impact of interventions; the focus is on supporting the most vulnerable and the least likely to have access to services and support.

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