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Over 220 million children do not have access to education in their own language. These children are less likely to succeed in school and are more likely to fall behind or drop out. Over 75% of the world's out-of-school girls are ethnic, linguistic, or religious minorities.  


Children who learn in their mother tongue do better in school and are less likely to drop out. 

Multilingual Education


Children learn best in a language they understand. They become proficient readers more quickly when learning in the language they speak at home than when using a language that is only used in school. Children also learn subject matter better when they do not have to simultaneously decipher a new language. A strong foundation of reading and learning in the mother tongue even improves acquisition of second language literacy and fluency and contributes to a student's long-term success.

SIL LEAD's Work in Multilingual Education


SIL LEAD uses its expertise in mother tongue-based multilingual education to improve reading and learning. We help to establish a foundation of learning and literacy in a language that students speak at home and gradually build competence in additional languages. Our training and technical assistance helps:

  • communities to create and manage a library of locally created reading materials in their language that are age and grade appropriate
  • education officials to build or adapt curricula to accommodate multiple languages and to develop new pedagogical materials in the mother tongue
  • teachers and teacher trainers to develop contextually appropriate pedagogical approaches for reading instruction



From the Blog...

FOMO? Forget about it!

Last week at the Digital Book World Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, SIL LEAD Executive Director Dr. Paul Frank spoke about what digital publishing has to offer languages without literature.

“Languages without literature… what are those?” you might ask, as you wonder what other glorious insights you might have missed by skipping another (admittedly hectic and overwhelming) conference.

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered…

the Imagination to Rise

The challenge of any creative journey is that there is always a sense in which you are starting without a map. In the country of Uganda, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) had a policy and commitment to mother tongue instruction. The Uganda MoES understood that a child who can’t understand the language of instruction cannot learn, and that an educated populace is the foundation of a country’s development…

Blind Leading the Blind…? Why not!?

Joyce Lopez works as the head of the Life Transformation Department at Resources for the Blind Inc. (RBI) in the Philippines. Although her siblings have moved to the United States, she remains in the country of her birth, living with her parents about forty-five minutes (by public transport) from the RBI offices in Manila and working to provide visually impaired students with the opportunity to discover their full potential. Joyce oversees the blind pastors that RBI sends to schools to work with blind children, she writes proposals, and from time to time she speaks as an advocate for the blind. When she’s not at work with RBI, she sometimes teaches computer tutorials for blind students. Joyce is a remarkable, bright young woman.

Joyce is also completely blind, and has been from birth…

Taking It Viral

"You have to use the media, the methods, that fit your audience."

The difficulty of providing clear, accessible information about communicable diseases might seem like a problem for white-hatted development workers in foreign countries. But even though it’s primarily an issue for minority language groups, it’s important to remember that medical messaging is a problem that can affect anyone, anywhere…

In Their Own Words...

While we at SIL LEAD are grateful for many opportunities to serve communities around the world, we hold a special place in our hearts for the organizations we are able to support through our Community Based Language Development (CBLD) program. These are often smaller organizations that might otherwise be overlooked in large scale aid and development initiatives.  By supporting the efforts of local citizens who are taking initiative to improve their own communities, SIL LEAD has a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference in a very focused way. One of the first organizations we have partnered with through the CBLD program is Literacy & Development through Partnership (LDP)…