“Our commitment to delivering quality programs and maintaining the utmost fiscal efficiency has earned recognition from leaders in the non-profit and corporate sectors and media attention.” “Literacy unlocks the door to learning throughout life, is essential to development and health, and opens the way for democratic participation and active citizenship.” -Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary- General Our Story : Room to Read is Born: 1998 – 2000 It all started with a case of job burnout.
As an overworked Microsoft executive, John Wood escaped to Nepal for a much-needed backpacking getaway. While hiking in the Himalayas, John met a Nepalese “Education Resource Officer” who invited him to visit a school in a neighbouring village. Little did John know that this short detour would change his life forever.
At the school, John saw the harsh reality confronting not only this village, but millions of Nepalese children–a dilapidated schoolroom and a severe shortage of books. John was stunned to discover that the few books this school had had–a Danielle Steele romance, the Lonely Planet Guide to Mongolia, and a few other backpacker castoffs– were so precious that they were kept under lock and key…to protect them from the children! As John left the village, the headmaster made a simple request: “Perhaps, Sir, you will someday come back with books.” His request would not go unheard. John emailed friends asking for help collecting children’s books, and within two months had collected over 3,000 books.
The following year, John and his father, accompanied by a train of eight book-bearing donkeys, returned to the village in Nepal. Seeing the faces of the children with the books convinced John to leave the corporate world and devote himself to becoming the Andrew Carnegie of the developing world. In late 1999, John quit his executive position with Microsoft and started Room to Read. Beginning in Nepal, John and his Nepali Co-Founder, Dinesh Shrestha, started by working with rural communities to build schools (School Room) and establish libraries (Reading Room).John and co-founder, Dinesh Shrestha, quickly recognized the need to expand the scope of work beyond libraries and wanted to address the fact that many girls in the developing world are overlooked in the educational system due to cultural bias.
To that end, in 2000 Room to Read began the Girls’ Education program which targets young girls and provides a long-term commitment to their education. Over 60 million primary schoolaged children around the world do not have access to education and most likely will never learn to read or write. Room to Read believes that all children, regardless of gender or background, have a right to education. By empowering children through this lifelong gift, we see a world in which people are able to realize their full potential.Room to Read had its humble origins in Nepal in 2000, where we began bringing donated books to rural communities.
Today, we are a global organization dedicated to promoting and enabling education through programs focused on literacy and gender equality in education. We achieve this goal by establishing school libraries, building schools, publishing locallanguage children’s books, training teachers on literacy education and supporting girls to complete secondary school with the life skills neccessary to succeed in school and beyond. We currently work in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia – with plans to expand so we can bring educational opportunities and resources to children throughout the developing world.
Room to Read’s programs have benefitted more than 6.5 million children so far and we are on track to reach 10 million children by 2015. Imagine a world in which every child has access to an education. Room to Read is doing our best to make this dream a reality, one child at a time. We envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world.
To achieve this goal, we focus on two areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact: literacy and gender equality in education. We work in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond. Have questions need answers? – Contact us online at : firstname.lastname@example.org. Global Office: +1 (415) 839-4400 +1 (415) 839-4400 – 9am-5pm Pacific Time (US) – Mon-Fri, Website : www. roomtoread.org