Announcing – Pen Pals Across the World


CONTACT: Cathy Leiber

Judith’s Reading Room Announces a Global Collaboration

“Pen Pals Across the World”

Africa’s Ivory Coast and New York’s E. Harlem Students Share Life Stories

February 10, 2023 — Judith’s Reading Room applauded today a global collaboration between two of its “Freedom Through Literacy” Award winners: Mr. Toti Jean Marc Yale, founder and CEO of the NGO Education and English For You, based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Ms. Daliz Vasquez, Principal, Mosaic Preparatory Academy, East Harlem, New York who agreed to name each other’s schools as “Pen Pals.”

“Pen Pals Across the World,” was an idea spawned by Judith’s Reading Room and Mr. Yale, whose work with impoverished primary school children in the French-speaking African nation inspired the organization to honor him with a 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award Honorable Mention.  The organization subsequently made a donation of $600 to purchase English language books for the students.

Ms. Vasquez, her Vice Principal Ms. Wilson and numerous Mosaic Preparatory Academy teachers in East Harlem, NY, for their part, enthusiastically agreed to reciprocate by inviting their eager scholars to write letters to their new friends in this west African nation.  In 2021 and 2022 Mosaic’s former principal, Dr. Lisette Caesar won a Freedom through Literacy Award Honorable Mention and Board Option Prize, respectively.

“We estimate that initially 60 children from each location will participate in the Pen Pal project,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.”  She added, “Our aim is to figuratively shrink the 4,933 miles in distance between Abidjan and East Harlem by illustrating that families, friendships, concerns, fears and hopes are universal.”

To kick start the program and to assist the students in English, Judith’s Reading Room has provided funding for Mr. Yale to purchase 60 English dictionaries for each student participating in “Pen Pals Across the World.”

Mr. Yale wrote,

“I have the honor and immense pleasure on behalf of our community students and all the volunteers of the NGO Education and English for You to say to you from the bottom of my heart a big Thank You. For this program, we have worked in the past with students from the following countries: U.S, Canada, Mexico, Ukraine and Spain and we have never received support like Yours.  Thank you so much Judith’s Reading Room for all the Happiness you offer to the children of the world. I’m a living witness.” 

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