The One Million Words Asia Literacy Organization is the culmination of years of research and identifying the need for not only quality textbooks in classrooms in Asia, but also for inspiring and entertaining works of fiction that are age and culturally appropriate to the readers.
Dr. Robert Lockyer, a well-known and published author in mainland China, with over 120 published titles to his name, was contracted by Pearson Education, China to work with the Ministry of Education on secondary and post-secondary education reform for 'tier one' cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
It was whilst working on this reform Dr. Lockyer, learned that the 'education gap' started way before secondary education. He saw the need for ALL students to have access to materials not only for academic purposes but also for entertainment.
From 2005 to 2012 Dr. Lockyer travelled extensively throughout Asia lecturing, training, and developing literacy programs in many of the rural and remote parts of many countries. He has been heavily involved with setting up book collections in orphanages, local communities, and rural schools. He personally donated over 5,000 printed books during this period, but saw the need for a larger and more focused operation.
In early 2013 Dr. Lockyer, together with Mr. David K. Clarke, were commissioned by an accredited UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) organization to write the standards for TESOL-C (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language - Children). It was whilst working jointly on this project that the idea for forming an organization to assist and promote literacy in rural and remote provinces in Asia came to fruition.
Over the next few years the pair actively worked on the promotion of literacy and the 'love of reading', when they visited the Philippines for a conference and were approached by one of the local organizations to assist in readable materials for their community as the resources on hand were dated, worn, and generally of no readable interest. Their need and desire was for purposeful resources to assist in either academic knowledge to increase their children's school grading, and for books that their children 'want to read.'
With the coming of 2014, the needs from communities, schools, and even from semi-government organizations continued to grow to a level that was unmanageable, and the pair formed the concept to source and donate 'one million words' of age appropriate, subject appropriate, as well as readable fiction stories in either the students first language or a second language, generally being English in Asia.
The group has steadily grown, and is continuing to grow, and we now have a sole focus of providing books to the word value of 'one million words' per project per country, with our focus countries being Laos, PR China, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Vietnam, where access to books are cost prohibitive for most rural towns/villages.