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Room To Read

Rating: 4.94 stars   71 reviews 5,960

Address:

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.

2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

415-561-3331
www.roomtoread.org

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Reviews for Room To Read

Rating: 5 stars  

Room to Read is a rare non-profit organization in that it not only has a critical mission but also manages to execute with tremendous effectiveness and efficiency. I am proud to be associated with such an organization, which is truly changing the world, one library, school, and student at a time. I know of no other charity that can match Room to Read in terms of return on investment or the network of volunteers that is has established around the globe.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a volunteer chapter leader for the past 10 years. I do not put my support,time and resources behind an organization unless I believe in them 100% and Room to Read has earned my respect, trust and admiration for how they conduct their business. This non profit is run like a business and that is what appealed to me the most. This organization is entrepreneurial, transparent, accountable and a leader in its field. The people I have met through volunteering with this organization have truly enriched my life and are a constant source of inspiration.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been volunteering with Room to Read since 2009, and I do it because Room to Read operates with great efficiency and great ethics. I love that virtually all local staff are truly locals (not expats), that they aren't afraid to adjust their strategy when evidence shows that it is needed (e.g. adding in teacher training), and that they invest in their volunteers (through the Chapter Leaders' Conference, support from full-time staff, etc.).

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

We have two mottos at Room to Read: the official one is World Change Starts with Educated Children, and I can guarantee this is the truth. We are starting to see the long-term results of RtR graduates going on to have amazing careers, changing the course of their own lives, their family's and their community. Our unofficial motto is GSD -- Get S*it Done, and we definitely do! I don't know of a better organisation in which to invest your charity dollar/pound/euro etc.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I've volunteered and worked with nonprofits around the world all my life and I'm super happy and proud to be affiliated with Room to Read. Room to Read is strategic and has a great vision. Working with local governments, organizations, and communities to improve education and gender equality has had a ripple affect that has reached more than 10 Million Children, their families, communities, and countries in a positive manner. Most importantly, in one generation it's changing entire communities in 10 countries with education that empowers children to earn more money than their parents were able to and to treat women and young girls with equality... allowing them to work, marry later, and to gain advance degrees. Reducing childhood mortality rates and much more. I encourage you to learn more about Room to Read's work from their web site.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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  

1 person found this review helpful

I volunteered with Room to Read for 2 1/2 years when I lived in Hong Kong in the role of Volunteer Co-ordinator. I was caught up by the passion I saw in the volunteers and staff alike and the cause was so obvious with literacy and keeping girls in school at it's heart. But it was the practical approach and the transparency that tipped me to become very rather than a little involved. I have recently moved back to UK where Room to Read also has a very active fund raising presence. Once I'm properly settled I'll be back in to this wonderful organization and finding how I can help here. In the meantime I spread the word whenever I can.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have been involved with Room to Read for more than 10 years, both as an employee and a volunteer, and as a donor. It must be rare to sustain a passionate commitment to an organization over such a long period and there are many reasons for this. Some of these have already been mentioned in other reviews. I'd like to emphasize the fact that this is an organization that is constantly evaluating and monitoring its operations and its outcomes, adjusting its programs to achieve maximum effectiveness. The results achieved in just over 15 years have been nothing short of phenomenal. One of my Sydney colleagues commented that Room to Read had changed her life personally and professionally and this is also true for me. I enjoyed the challenge of leading the team which established Room to Read's fundraising presence in Australia and this experience introduced me to many fine friends and colleagues. I am truly proud to be a part of this organization.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a volunteer with Room to Read for 3 years, and have just returned from a visit to some of their sites in Sri Lanka. I have always believed in their mission--"World change starts with educated children"--but seeing their work in action has deepened my commitment to this organization. The passion of the local managers and teachers, the radical transparency in the way the funds are spent, and the moving and inspiring words of the parents of the children helped have made me a true believer. I did a lot of research before I joined Room to Read and I never found an organization that was making such a profound and measurable difference.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

"Education is, quite simply, peace-building by another name. It is the most effective form of defense spending there is." Kofi Annan

I've been involved with Room to Read as a volunteer and now a chapter leader since 2008 - definitely my longest continuous involvement with any nonprofit. Annan's quote communicates why I feel the organization's mission is so important. Wouldn't the world be a better place if every child had a right to an independent education?

Based on my long involvement, I've gotten to know the organization well. I so admire their outcomes focus and their research, monitoring and evaluation program. They're always measuring/tracking to see what works best. That information doesn't go on a shelf. They're always fine-tuning programs to reach the most children with effective programs - a true learning organization. When Room to Read found that there were not age-appropriate learning materials for young kids in many countries where they operate (there is no market for kids' books in countries so poor that there is no demand), they set up a book publishing program to support local authors/illustrators so that the materials are culturally relevant. They now publish early reading materials in more than 20 languages.

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Full disclosure: I'm a volunteer chapter leader for Boston, so I'm a bit passionate about Room to Read. During the 4 years that I've volunteered with Room to Read, I've gotten to know many of the staffers and I really respect the organization. These are ethical, committed, driven people. I spent my career in high-tech, so the organization's "get it done" mentality appeals to me. I like the fact that the Room to Read offices in each country in which they operate are staffed by locals, not outsiders. This creates jobs in these countries but perhaps more importantly, provides role models for the students they are supporting. I'm particularly fond of the Girls' Education Program, which provides more than scholarships. The program provides mentoring, life skills workshops and school uniforms and transportation when needed. Last, the Local Language Publishing program is an unsung hero of Room to Read's work - publishing culturally relevant and language appropriate books in the countries where Room to Read works.

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?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I joined Room to Read about a year and a half ago after attending a screening event of Girl Rising. With a background in International Education and having travelled to over 70 countries I could not find a charitable organization that was a more perfect fit for me! The work Room to Read does is amazing and inspiring and I am proud to volunteer for such a well-respected organization!

 
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