By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
“I cannot see, but I have a vision.” That statement from a blind educator in Ethiopia might introduce a visionary program through which rural Kansans are helping encourage literacy halfway around the globe.
LeAnn and Stan Clark and Laurie Curtis shared the story of this innovative nonprofit organization known as Ethiopia Reads. They told about Jane Kurtz, the co-founder of Ethiopia Reads, who had grown up in Ethiopia where her father was a missionary pilot. Jane moved back to the United States, married a Presbyterian minister, and became a children’s book writer. Several of her books drew on her years growing up in Ethiopia.
An Ethiopian refugee in the U.S. came across her books and was touched. He contacted Jane and encouraged her to develop literacy in Ethiopia and send children’s books there. That was the beginning of Ethiopia Reads.
Jane Kurtz received a grant from North Dakota Presbyterian churches to gather books and send them to Ethiopia. She and her husband later moved to be near his parents at Moundridge, where they met LeAnn Clark. Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: LeAnn Clark/Laurie Curtis, Ethiopia Reads”