MoneyGram and Asia Foundation to Improve Digital Access to Books in Thailand

August 22, 2017 | Press Release

MoneyGram and Asia Foundation to Improve Digital Access to Books in Thailand
Thousands of students in Northern Thailand benefiting from Let’s Read! initiative

Chiang Mai, Thailand (, 2017) – MoneyGram, a global provider of innovative money transfer services, and The Asia Foundation hosted an event on June 16-17 to showcase the achievements of the Let’s Read! initiative funded with a $60,000 grant awarded by the MoneyGram Foundation. The donation enabled the non-profit The Asia Foundation to extend its innovative digital library and reading program to underserved S’gaw Karen community in Northern Thailand.

There are no local libraries in S’gaw Karen communities and low literacy is a persistent problem. The Let’s Read! initiative improves access to language-relevant children’s books by enabling creation of custom, digital libraries with a smartphone or computer. Its integrated suite of mobile-first tools includes a translation app that facilitates community-led localization of books and an e-reader application that allows children and their parents to read books in their language of choice.

“The MoneyGram Foundation follows in MoneyGram’s path of innovation by investing in education innovators who are driving solutions to some of the world’s most pressing educational gaps and disparities,” said Jaclyn Hall, MoneyGram Foundation President. “By supporting The Asia Foundation’s unique, culturally-responsive digital reader program, we are achieving our mission of transforming education in ways meaningful to the specific region and population of students impacted,” added Hall.

Let’s Read! is an initiative of The Asia Foundation in partnership with Foundation for Applied Linguistics (FAL) and Karen Network for Culture and Environment (KNCE). Since the launch in January of this year, 150 illustrated books in S’gaw Karen language have been added to the library, which is free for children, families and schools. Reading activities launched this May in 10 S’gaw Karen villages in northern Thailand introduced the language-relevant books into local community schools and encouraged families to read together with their children.

The two-day event hosted by the MoneyGram Foundation and The Asia Foundation included project framework discussions, a mobile platform demonstration, and a trip to the remote, mountainous villages of Khun Pae and Khun Tae to participate in a storytelling session with children and families from the local community.

“It was a privilege to witness firsthand the technology behind this reading initiative as well as participating in the reading session with local communities”, said Raj Dhorkay, MoneyGram’s head for Indo-China, Malaysia and Brunei.

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