welcome to

Innovating education for all

a global community formed by Simbi Foundation & Simbi to reimagine learning and reading

The Simbi-osis journey

Simbi-osis is a play on the word “symbiosis”, and captures Simbi Foundation’s and Simbi reading platform’s joint mission to build a world where universal access to education and passion for reading is a reality.


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A UN-partnered, research-led non-profit organization working to enhance access to education for the next 3.5 million refugee learners through solar-powered BrightBox classrooms.

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Simbi Foundation logo

A reading technology inspiring people everywhere to read more books, more often. Simbi pairs your voice with the words of a book, and shares it with children around the world.

Try reading for good on Simbi 

Try reading on Simbi


Simbi Foundation and Simbi have different missions, solutions, and teams, but we collaborate to further each other’s global impact.


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Join our global community and contribute to our impact.


Simbi Foundation & Simbi

A Read-A-Thon is a unique opportunity for your organization, company, or school to team up and narrate books for good. Compete with your colleagues, earn volunteer hours, and support 208, 000 readers around the world.

Support BrightBox

Simbi Foundation

The BrightBox is a solar-powered classroom. Stocked with learning technology and quality content, it supports up to 6,000 students per week. BrightBoxes have provided support to over 37,000 students in Uganda and India.

Read with Simbi


Explore thousands of engaging and diverse stories for many ages. Read along with the voice of an experienced reader, or narrate a book yourself — all while making a positive impact for learning readers around the world.


Experience our founding story.







Looking forward

Simbi Foundation Charity is founded.

Aaron Friedland, an Econometrics student, was researching with communities in remote Eastern Uganda. Through collaborative discussion with community members, Aaron came to understand three principal barriers preventing students from accessing a quality education: long walks to school, poor nutrition on arrival, and lack of learning resources. To support students, Simbi Foundation, originally named “The Walking School Bus” was founded as a non-profit organization.

Simbi Foundation researchers develop Simbi.

Since Simbi Foundation started, researchers were working with communities to develop a new immersive reading technology to help students make faster progress with their literacy. Named Simbi, this program is rooted in symbiosis as one reads a digital book while listening to that same book narrated. Randomized Control Trials (RCT) demonstrated that reading with Simbi could improve literacy and fluency two times faster in three months than reading with a paper book.

The first BrightBox, a shipping container turned solar-powered classroom, is installed in Uganda.

Further research showed that many schools in the area had little-to-no access to electricity, textbooks, or learning technology, making literacy and numeracy efforts even more of a challenge for both learners and teachers. These challenges informed the design of the first crowdfunded BrightBox, a shipping container turned solar-powered classroom.

BrightBox learning supports schools in remote northern India.

After a research TRIP to Uganda, Sukriti Sachar saw how the challenges faced by students in remote Uganda were similar to those faced by students in remote northern India. Sukriti joined the team and began operations in India, leading to partnerships with schools in the Uttarakhand state with BrightBox technology now supporting their learning.

Simbi Reading Platform is developed.

When Simbi Foundation researchers asked fluent readers from their hometowns to record themselves reading for learners in Uganda, they did not expect the flood of requests upon their return for more opportunities to read for good! In response to this outpouring of dedicated voices, Simbi became a stand-alone technology for youth and adults alike to share their voices with learning readers around the world.

Partnership launched with the United Nations & Government of Uganda.

With BrightBoxes successfully supporting learning in a few remote communities in Uganda and India, the opportunity to work with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees arose. A Memorandum of Understanding led to the installation of another solar-powered classroom at Twajiji Primary School in the UN Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, Uganda, and a collaboration with NGO CRADLE’s maternal health project.

Simbi is used in schools across the globe.

Educators use Simbi to read more books for good with over 100,000 learners across 67 countries worldwide. The Simbi digital library, and its thousands of donated voices, joins the roster of educational resources in the Simbi Foundation Learn Cloud, an offline curriculum platform which offers BrightBox learners offline access to quality educational content and software.

More BrightBox Micros installed in Bidibidi refugee settlement.

Simbi Foundation developed new relationships with four schools in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, leading to the installation of 4 BrightBox Micros – a suitcase-sized, portable version of the BrightBox solution.

Simbi launches the Language & Story Revitalization Project to support First Nations and endangered languages.

Working closely with communities, the Simbi reading platform becomes a tool to carry on traditional languages and important stories for future generations. Indigenous languages, such as SENĆOŦEN and nqilxwcn, are recorded by community members for youth. Tibetan and Mongolian stories can be heard, as well as stories from survivors of the Holocaust.

Five additional BrightBoxes to be installed in Bidibidi refugee settlement and Palorinya refugee settlement, Uganda.

Following funding partnerships with the Global Prosperity Initiative and the Gupta Family Foundation, and a new logistic partnership with Hope Health Action, Simbi Foundation will be installing four BrightBoxes in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, Uganda and a BrightBox Micro in Palorinya Refugee Settlement, Uganda.

Simbi joins Google for Startups’ inaugural Voice AI cohort to solve complex problems in accessibility & education.

Joining 11 other technologies, Simbi works on improving issues in accessibility and education through unique voice technologies. Simbi’s Impact First values focused the program on literacy, language preservation, and celebrating relevant accents for learners in remote and refugee communities.

3.5 million learners around the globe receive enhanced access to education & increase literacy skills.

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