Room to Read
I’ve finished reading John Wood’s second book mentioned in my last post. The stories he shares about the young students he meets are so inspiring. (Why am I writing about this? Besides the fact that this non-profit is an amazing example of good work well done, a percentage of all sales from my jewelry goes to support Room to Read's efforts. During the holiday season, I will be sending them 50% of all sales.) Back to the Room to Read story.........
In one school in Zambia, girls sleep at the school because the walk home takes hours; they make the journey home only one day each weekend. In South Africa, a young boy was so driven to read and learn, that he collected discarded magazines and books from garbage in wealthy neighborhoods where his mother worked as a maid, so he could improve his reading and learn. He taught himself math using the books he salvaged. In Vietnam, Anh walked to school - 2 hours each way - in ankle deep mud during the monsoon season. Her Room-to-Read scholarship paid for boots and a backpack so she could make the journey in ankle deep mud during the monsoon season.
His book is full of stories of children and their supportive parents and neighbors who were given the opportunity to collaborate with room to read.
There are many things about the Room to Read organization that I admire and affirm my decision to support their work. To name a few:
• Collaboration: Room to Read builds partnerships. It buys the books for a library, the community builds the shelves and/or the school. Any place in the developing world where you find a Room to Read school, library, or scholarship support for students, you know that the community is contributing to the effort in no small way.
• Evaluation: Room to Read evaluates its programs and makes changes based on what it learns. When students told Room to Read that they wanted books in their native languages, Room to Read worked with writers and illustrators in the countries where they operate to develop a children’s book publishing industry. In 2011, Room to Read was awarded the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy for their efforts: 553 original children’s book titles in 25 different languages and printed more than 4.1 million books in eight countries (Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam).
• Fiscal Responsibility: Room to Read has achieved Charity Navigator’s highest 4 star rating for sound fiscal management for seven years in a row. When you make an investment in Room to Read’s programs, 83% of what you give goes to program support. How often have you made a contribution to a non-profit, only to be inundated for requests for additional donations? When that happens to me, it feels as though my contribution is paying for additional solicitations, rather than the actual programs I thought I was helping. That doesn’t happen with Room to Read.