Room to Read

Room to Read
Founded: 1998

To transform the lives of children through programs focused on literacy and gender equality in education.

About the Organization:
In 1998, then-Microsoft executive John Wood visited a school in rural Nepal and was struck by the mismatch between the kids' eagerness to learn and the absence of books in the classroom. Moved by the experience, Wood returned to the States and co-founded Room to Read, a 501(c)(3) that works to deliver donated children's books to and establish schools and school libraries in rural communities in the developing world. Today the organization operates in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia. In 2000, Room to Read launched its Girls' Education program to address the fact that many girls in the developing world are overlooked by local educational systems due to cultural biases.

Current Programs:
The organization promotes literacy and gender equality in education, provides literacy training for teachers and empowers girls to complete secondary school with the skills needed to succeed in life. To date, Room to Read has established 16,060 school libraries, built 1,752 schools, published 885 local-language children's books, and distributed 13 million books. In addition, nearly 26,000 girls have participated in its Girls' Education program. Programs are run entirely by local staff, books are published in-country, and each partner community is encouraged to contribute to the project's long-term success by donating land, funds, or labor.

Web Site:
Visitors to the site can browse videos about the organization, its work, and the children who benefit from that work; learn about the organization's programs; and/or check out its blog. Via the Students Helping Students page, kids, teens, and university students can learn how to take action to improve literacy rates and access to books in the developing world, while teachers and parents can explore classroom activities and lesson plans. Supporters also can get involved by making a donation; starting their own fundraising campaign; or joining one of more than fifty local Room to Read chapters worldwide.

Room to Read receives support from foundations, corporations, nonprofit organizations, individuals and its chapters.

Contact: Erin Ganju, Co-Founder and CEO
111 Sutter Street
16th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 839-4400

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