USAID said that its education programme has doubled its distribution of reading materials to help teachers and students at more than 4,000 schools in 19 provinces as the world celebrates World Book Day under the theme “Indigenous Languages”.

In celebration of World Book Day, USAID Cambodia announced on April 23 that USAID education programme make strategic investments to ensure that all children and youth learn to read.

“USAID Cambodia has doubled its reading materials to help teachers and students in over 4,000 schools in 19 provinces. We are proud to help all Cambodian children benefit from quality reading services,” the USAID Cambodia stated.

Sok Lak, book reader and co-founder of Intellectual Library, who organized the World Book Day 2022, said that the celebrations by stakeholders in Cambodia reflected that Cambodia is integrated internationally by joining hands and being an important part of inspiring reading together.

“The more book programmes the better and more beneficial to society. The reading situation in our country seems to be limited, which requires further action,” he said.

World Book Day, April 23, was first celebrated in 1995. It was designed to promote reading, publishing, and copyright as they believe books have the power to transport everyone to the new world, expands people’s understanding and stimulates imagination, according to the UNESCO.

UNESCO’s theme for 2023 is Indigenous Language. The theme saw the start of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-32), as part of a UN priority plan to uphold and promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism.

According to the UNESCO, indigenous and local languages feature as part of the World Book Capital Network Charter, and the Charter recognizes a less rigid concept of what constitutes a book or literature, so that practices like oral storytelling traditions are included.

“For World Book and Copyright Day on April 23, Indigenous Languages will be the message UNESCO will focus on. Of the almost 7,000 existing languages – many of which are fast disappearing – the majority are spoken by indigenous peoples who represent the greater part of the world’s cultural diversity,” UNESCO said.

UNESCO also stated that the UN does not put restrictions on who or which cultures can be termed indigenous, but many of you will be aware of indigenous communities either from your own country, residing there, or among those you have worked with abroad.

“Indeed, books are vital vehicles to access, transmit and promote education, science, culture and information worldwide,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.