Room To Read

Rating: 4.93 stars   59 reviews

Issues: Education, International

Location: 111 Sutter St. 16th Floor San Francisco CA 94104 USA

Mission: Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
Results: Schools constructed: 1,442 Libraries established: 11,246 Books published: 553 Books distributed: 9.4 million Girls supported: 10,590 Children benefited: 5.1 million
Target demographics: Students in need of library resources and local language reading materials; and Girls at-risk of dropping out of secondary school
Direct beneficiaries per year: 5.1 million children in primary and secondary school
Geographic areas served: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Vietnam, and Zambia
Programs: Room to Read focuses on two objectives: Literacy and Gender Equality in Education. Our Literacy program enables primary school children to become independent readers: • Room to Read focuses its efforts on developing reading skills and the habit of reading in primary school aged children because literacy is the foundation for all future learning. We do this primarily by establishing multi-lingual libraries, increasing access to age-appropriate and culturally relevant reading materials (including publishing our own original local language children’s books), and improving the child friendliness of the school environment. We’ve recently increased our support for reading instruction including creating materials and providing training for teachers. Our Girls’ Education program supports girls to complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions: • Room to Read focuses on girls transitioning to or in secondary school because that is where the biggest – and most permanent – gaps in gender equality in education take place. We do this primarily through supporting girls to attend school, providing female mentoring and creating more girl-friendly school environments. We’ve recently added more emphasis on teaching life skills to girls so they will finish school and maximize their opportunities.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I've been involved with Room to Read for many years both as a volunteer and a donor. My background is in publishing so helping to improve literacy in third world countries is something dear to my heart. Room to Read is extremely well run and has been able to help millions of underprivileged young people throughout the world. The trickle down effect of this will be immense in years to come. Kaybat

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Rating: 4 stars  

I have donated and volunteered for many not for profit organisations and often 'fallen out of love' with them as I learn how funds are being used, or the programs ability to make real change, despite great intentions and efforts. So before I decided to support Room to Read I took time to understand their system for raising funds, building school, and improving literacy. I was impressed. I really like the fact that they make real efforts to empower local communities by getting them involved in the building of libraries, training local teachers and the 3 year self sufficiency process each school undergoes. And the student testing, to ensure Room to Read schools do perform. In fact, the literacy rate of its students often outperform those of normal local schools, showing their process is effective in developing literacy and hence giving these kids a real shot at a different future. I also checked Room to Reads Audit by the Bill + Melinda Gates Foundation. An impressive 85% of donations are used directly on projects which means you know donations are making a big difference. Without saying the volunteers and Chapter leaders are passionate people and inspiring to be around too. So they have my support :)

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Rating: 5 stars  

There are lots of charities and non profits in aid of Nepal - big and small. But this is one that stands out for us (my husband and I) - and we know this first hand because we were both born in Nepal - the country where John Woods started this amazing journey from. I just love to see constant updates from the organisation be it via blog, the print mail out, newsletters or social media on the "littlest" improvements being made. And we know that our contributions have been well spent. There are just good things this organisation keeps doing.
I should probably also mention that the Sydney chapter team - the leaders & volunteers are pretty amazing.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I first heard about Room to Read when I read the book called 'Leaving Microsoft to Change the World'. It is written by the Founder of Room to Read - John Wood. I loved this book! Wow what an inspirational story and person!
Then, I wanted to find out more about Room to Read and searched the internet. I found out that there is a very active Room to Read Sydney Chapter and attended their bimonthly chapter meetings to find out more.
I helped out at the 2012 Wine Gala evening, attended trivia nights, Beers for Books, Lattes for Literacy, Book Swaps, City to Surf Fun Run and more. I even helped out for the 2013 Wine Gala remotely whilst living overseas.
I am especially fond of the 'Students Helping Students' and 'Girls Education' aspects of Room to Read. The students at a girls school that I was teaching at in Sydney choose Zambia to make regular donations towards. The students held an annual 'Drop Everything and Read' event to raise money so Zambian girls can attend school for one year. The teachers made a $1 donation to Room to Read each time they had a Nespresso Coffee during the school day for the entire school year. This initiative was called 'Lattes for Literacy' so that Room to Read could publish and deliver reading books to the students in Zambia.

I would encourage everyone and anyone to get involved in the Room to Read organization!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I first heard about Room to Read through another networking group I was involved with and immediately became intrigued enough to learn more and within a few months was a committed volunteer then for one year I was the Volunteer Coordinator for the San Diego chapter. I remain committed to our chapter in a lesser role, but am so very proud to be a volunteer for Room to Rwad. The mission and accomplishments are inspiring and I've had the great honor to meet both John Wood and Erin Ganju, truly inspiring individuals.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

Previously I was on a nonprofit board, working hard to build a safe house for girls rescued from sex trafficking in Costa Rica. Laws had to be made & systems put into place to help the girls who have been through horrific events when I came across Room to Read at a Networking for A Cause event and learned about their work. My world spun 360 and now I am focused on empower girls & boys with the education and life skills they need to avoid trouble BEFORE it happens. Reading, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World & Creating Room to Read have both empowered me with skills that I use to manage the San Diego Chapter of Room to Read and also to help others manage their nonprofits more effectively. Room to Read's annual Chapter Leadership Conference shares strategy, empower us with tools, and open doors to country directors and supporters around the world. It's all so well run and effective. I love helping Room to Read succeed. World Change Starts With Educated Children!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expand more quickly... but I already know they have some tests in place right now that will allow them to do just that. Keep up the great work Room to Read!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

In 2012, I met founder John Wood and heard him talk about Room to Read, the organization's desire to promote literacy in Asia and Africa, and to reach 10 million children by 2015. Leaving that event, I knew that I had to become part of the global movement to support education and gender equality in education.

Room to Read thrives on new ideas and the spirit of its highly motivated volunteers. In 2013, I became an active volunteer and in 2014 I was asked to become the Chapter Leader. I get a tremendous sense of fulfilment from my volunteer work and I love to share the Room to Read story with close friends and new acquaintences. I feel fortunate to get involved in a variety of volunteer activities with Room to Read including event planning, project management and coordination, operations and logistics, fundraising, awareness building and outreach, volunteer management and succession planning, organizational design, communication and much more.

I'm proud of the organization's success and I'm a firm believer in its mission...as a volunteer, donor, chapter leader and one of the Room to Read's Yak Pack runners participating in the Jungfrau Marathon.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I heard John Wood speak about Room to Read in 2012 and was immediately struck by the evident truth of 'World Change starts with Educated Children'. I was impressed by the focussed, efficient and effective organisation. I love the fact, for example, that John travels the world on donated airmiles, staying in donated hotel rooms to keep overhead down and funds raised directed towards the field. Attracted by the 'GSD' (Get Stuff Done!) attitude and my core passions of love of reading and the importance of developing literacy and girls education in the developing world, I joined the Paris volunteer chapter and have been involved with building that up and raising funds and awareness.

As volunteers Room to Read offers us training and support to help spread the word - I've twice attended the worldwide Chapter Leaders conference which was inspirational to better understand the quality of the literacy, girls education & local language publishing programmes and learn from the experiences of the wonderfully dynamic volunteers from all over the world - all dedicated to devoting some of their spare time for this wonderful cause.

In Paris, as well as helping to raise funds for such a worthwhile cause, I've made some great new friends - of all ages, from all walks of life.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Try to improve awareness in Europe - not enough people know about Room to Read

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've always been a passionate reader and believed strongly in the importance of children learning to read. Having previously worked for large organisations I was impressed to see how Room To Read scales to reach millions of children, and how it actively engages the communities to support and build schools and libraries. I've volunteered at fundraising and awareness raising events and done a fun run in costume as Room To Read's mascot, Zak the Yak. As my job takes me travelling a great deal I also act as the "yak" between Room To Read chapters, delivering books, materials and even the Zak the Yak costume between cities, to help reduce operating costs.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been involved with Room to Read in various capacities since 2009 - donor, volunteer, Chapter Leader, employee - and have always felt that my involvement has always made the best use of by capabilities. As a Chapter Leader in Sydney I had the great privilege of participating in both the annual Chapter Leader conference in San Francisco and Chapter Leader Treks to see Room to Read's work first hand in India and Laos. These opportunities further committed me to the organisation after seeing the commitment and passion of those involved with Room to Read - from the leadership and staff at the head office, the program staff in the countries where we work, and the volunteers across the globe.

For me personally, seeing the children, families and communities that Room to Read works with and their commitment and passion to changing their own lives given that opportunity confirmed for me the world changing impact Room to Read is having - one child at a time. I now see my role as being an advocate for these children by being their voice in my world.

Girls and books changing the world - what is not to love!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Ensure more people knew about it! (I'm working on that...)

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful?