Hope for 2019

The calendar we use is imperfectly matched to the solar year, so there’s a sense in which New Year’s Day is only an illusion—just another day among many, invested with imaginary importance by a system invented at the behest of a sixteenth century Pope trying to get Easter to fall a little closer to the spring equinox.

“Imperfect,” however, is not the same as hopelessly flawed. As annoying as the Gregorian calendar can be for those of us with the misfortune to be born on a leap day, it generally does its job of helping us plan vacations, birthday parties, and—in our case—objectives and resolutions for the New Year.

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While 2018 presented a variety of new challenges and concerns both at home and abroad, we saw lives changed around the world as we continued our mission of helping local, community-based organizations use their own languages to improve their quality of life. We’re grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to partner with communities both large and small, and we are excited for the opportunities that 2019 has in store.

Here are some that we’re especially excited about:

  • Our Community Based Organization Granting program has taken on new life, having been greatly expanded at the end of 2018. This program allows us to more directly address the felt and articulated needs of specific language communities. We are hoping and praying for partners who will join us in generous support for these community organizations, and we look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration.

  • Bloom Enterprise is also new for us and represents a big increase in the level of service that we are offering organizations that choose to adopt Bloom as a key technology in their programs. SIL International’s award-winning software, Bloom, remains free to users. But in order to help sustain the continued development of Bloom, we are now offering a subscription-based service called Bloom Enterprise. In addition to new features which will help make Bloom books accessible for the Deaf and visually impaired, Bloom Enterprise provides subscribers with personalized branding, a bookshelf on Bloom Library, and access to other services.  To learn more about Bloom Enterprise, please visit www.sil-lead.org/bloom-enterprise/ .

  • In 2019 we will work in Philippines for the first time. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with vibrant language communities. As part of the All Children Reading Book Boost grant we won in 2018, we will be partnering with RBI (Resources for the Blind) to pilot the use of Bloom Enterprise features to create Bloom books for the visually impaired.

  • Having completed our involvement in projects in Ghana, Madagascar, and soon the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 2019 SIL LEAD and its consultants will continue to support multi-year early grade reading programs in Afghanistan, Nepal, and Senegal.  In 2018 we were also able to wrap up our efforts on behalf of USAID’s Enabling Writers Implementation Program which was designed to produce approximately 3,000 Bloom Books in 15 languages in Bangladesh, Haiti, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, and the Philippines. (Click here to see the books uploaded so far.)

Our belief in the value of this work has been affirmed again and again by the stories we hear from around the world, as good, accessible education continues to give a rich variety of people the tools to escape poverty, preserve their cultures, and find their voices in the world at large. We are confident that with the help of these new and powerful voices, the challenges we face as a global community will all seem a bit smaller as we move forward into this exciting New Year.

How about you?

What are your hopes for the New Year, and what will you do to “be the change you wish to see” in a world that needs your voice?


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