Save the Children, a non-profit organization that shares our passion for books and for creating the next generation of readers around the world, has selected Penguin Random House U.S. volunteer applicants Marysarah Quinn (SVP, Director of Creative Design, Crown) and Kendra Levin (Associate Editorial Director, Viking Books for Young Readers) to be the first publisher-funded volunteers to travel to Rwanda and work in partnership with the organization on their School-Community Partnership for Education (SCOPE) project. Coinciding with our Community Day of Service on January 12, Marysarah and Kendra will leave on January 13 to volunteer their time on behalf of Penguin Random House for one full week in Kigali, Rwanda.
“The Mureke Dusome (meaning Let’s Read) team is incredibly excited for the Penguin Random House corporate volunteers’ visit this January,” said Heidi Schubert, Basic Education Specialist for Save the Children’s International Programs.
Marysarah said, “I grew up in the various imprints of Penguin Random House—working here my entire adult life. I have always felt incredibly proud and lucky to work with the very best in the industry. It is an incredible honor to have the opportunity to share what I have learned with our partners abroad. I am truly humbled to have been chosen and so excited about this project!”
Kendra commented, “I’m honored to represent Penguin Random House and forge these relationships with publishers in Kigali. Penguin Random House is such a global company and every time I’ve had the chance to connect with publishing colleagues abroad, it’s created a rich exchange of information and ideas. I’m thrilled that Penguin Random House has found a way to blend a meeting of the minds with its mission of corporate social responsibility.”
Save the Children has been working with the local publishing industry in Rwanda for the last five years, helping it to grow from four small publishing houses to over 10. Each of them now has books approved by the Rwanda Ministry of Education for use in public schools. This Mureke Dusome project is USAID-funded and being implemented by Save the Children and its partner organizations.
Kendra and Marysarah will provide local Rwandan publishers with key insights about what it means to be a professional publisher and how to balance the various elements involved in producing high quality children’s books – from editing the story to the illustrations and design process. The sustainable, ongoing production of these high quality Kinyarwanda [the official language of Rwanda] storybooks will help to further inspire a love of reading among Rwandan primary school children.