Saturday, November 19, 2011

Literacy Orgs I Love: Room to Read

Room to Read: World Change Starts with Educated Children ® I am a book lover, therefore I must be a passionate advocate for literacy for all. My current literary obsession is books about people doing amazing things for other people, basic human kindness. These books have given me tips on things I can do to help others besides donating money and I think one of the ways that I could possibly make a small impact is by highlighting literacy non-profits. I found some that I had never heard of before so maybe you will discover a new one that you want to donate your time/money to, but regardless all of these organizations are dedicated to spreading the love of books and education to all and who wouldn't support that? This will be a monthly post.

Today I am featuring Room to Read! All quotes and logos from

The phenomenal organization whose founder's autobiography, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World I reviewed on Tuesday.Their mission: Building educational infrastructure and providing educational opportunities in the developing world is not a simple task. Every country offers a unique set of challenges and advantages, every region has its strengths and weaknesses, every community has its own needs. For this reason, Room to Read employs local teams led by a local director in each country. Our local teams understand the needs of each country and each community. They speak the language, know the customs, and understand what it takes to implement each program successfully. They ensure that our programs are of the highest quality and meet their singular needs.

Room to Read builds libraries and schools and it has a special focus on giving girls a quality education. I think what makes Room to Read unique is that they stock their libraries with local-language books as well as the donated English-only books and they have a publishing program. Their Local Language Publishing program uses local writers and illustrators to create children's books for their libraries and schools. They sponsor workshops and competitions to encourage local authors and illustrators. I even cited this specific program in a college application essay about a cause I'm passionate about. For me it's simply not realistic to promote literacy for all only in English. We have to reach people in their native language first.

Furthermore I like how Room to Read is such an efficient organization. The founder John Wood is a former marketing director for Microsoft and he focuses on having a low overhead, engaging the local population and constantly updating donors ("investors") on Room to Read's progress. The staff is very engaged in the day-to-day operations and constantly visits it's various programs around each respective country. They are proactive. They have a plan and outline their goals. Room to Read also encourages students to get involved with a variety of fundraising ideas and awareness activities (I'm a BIG fan of the school/club read-a-thons).

And if you buy the book (published in 2006, the organization was founded in 2000) through Barnes & Noble 5% of the proceeds go to Room to Read.

Oh and I love their banners, like the one above