- Over 250 million children around the world are failing to achieve basic literacy skills
- More than two thirds of the illiterate population are women and girls
- If every child received an education, 171 million people would be lifted out of poverty
Those numbers are astounding! Room to Read was born in Nepal in 2000, where they started bringing books into rural communities. The organization believes that everyone has a right to an education, regardless of gender or their background.
Since 2000 Room to Read has grown and now works in 10 countries. The things they aim to do include: establishing school libraries, building schools, publishing local-language children’s books, training teachers on literacy education and supporting girls to complete secondary school with the life skills necessary to succeed in school and beyond.
Room to Read isn’t just running into a community and building a school or library and walking away. That model wouldn’t work. Instead, they work closely with the local government and the people of the community to co-invest in the program. Community members are challenged to invest cash, materials, or labor. In turn, this gives the community a stake in the project’s success and increases the sustainability of the project.
Another interesting thing that Room to Read does- when they build a library, they not only create a child-friendly, welcoming environment and provide ample training for the staff, they also stock it with books that are locally relevant, high-quality, and in their native language. To be able to get these kind of books efficiently, Room to Read established its own publishing company. They seek out local authors and encourage them to write books for the children to use. All of the books are produced in the countries where Room to Read works, so it also helps to support the local publishing industry.
Room to Read has many programs and other ways that they help these children. You can read more about them on their site.
Personally, I heard of Room to Read from our friends at Mom Organizing Moms. They want to be able to host events each month to support different causes and Room to Read is one that is close to their hearts’- as women and mothers. Check out this video of Nancy’s (a MOM team member) story and how she became so passionate about at-risk kids and education.
This month, MOM is partnering up with The Impeccable Pig in Hillsboro Village to host a shopping party. A portion of sales during the event will benefit Room to Read. So, stop by and pick up some goodies for yourself or start that holiday shopping early and you’ll also be helping out a great cause.