I love Room to Read and its style of partnering with governments, locals, other nonprofits to create long-term sustainable programs that have changed the lives of and benefited over 12.5 Million Children, their communities, and families with Literacy and Gender Equality programs.
They Tracking Our Impact and Sharing Results! Results that help us and other nonprofit expand their literacy and gender equality programs.
The local language Children's book publishing program has been well managed and allowed great books to get into the hands of children and libraries in very rural areas. At this point there has been over 20 Million Children's Book Distributed along with so much more... Teacher Training, School Buildings, library Buildings, Teacher Training programs
Go to their site www.roomtoread.org and get involved. You'll feel great and love it!
My passion for gender equality in education led me to Room to Read. I am inspired by their accomplishments as a result of John Wood's "Get Sh"t Done" mantra and their dedication to making a global difference following their motto, "World Change Starts with Educated Children". If you want to get involved, reach out to your local chapter leader and you will be welcomed to our community of dedicated volunteers.
I've spent the past five years working with the amazing group of volunteers that comprise the San Francisco chapter of this organization and the global staff at HQ. The future of our planet lies solely in the hands of the next generations, and Erin and the RtR team have somehow harnessed their experience in the startup capital of the world to create a lean non-profit that operates efficiently and effectively. I am awed by the simplicity and scalability of their business model and how it can adapt so well across some of the most under-served communities in Africa and Asia. The best part is the transparency in their operations, including the ability to join the leadership team in site visits!
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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!
I started volunteering with Room to Read 10 years ago this month and can honestly say I have never stayed with an organization this long. They have earned my respect, trust, time and dollars by running a professional, accountable and sustainable model for real change in the world. They have great leadership, they listen and they respond and have become a leader in global education. If you are looking for that one charity that makes a substantial difference in the world look no further than Room to Read. Added bonus they have chapters all over the world with a great network of like minded people who are like family.
You Can Buy Happiness. You can buy happiness, not with currency, but with time invested in helping others. I come from a family that values volunteerism. I have volunteered most of my life, and most recently with Room to Read, a global non profit that focuses on literacy and gender equality in education in 10 countries in Africa and Asia. Learning to read launches the ability for a child to grow, learn, dream and become. Room to Read publishes books in the native languages of the countries they work in that reflect the local customs and culture. I have spent the last five years encouraging the youth in our highly educated community to become aware and engaged in the education of their peers on the other side of the globe. We encourage public speaking, event planning and creative fundraising to provide scholarships to girls, and books to kids through the Room to Read programs. I want to foster a lifelong sense of compassion and volunteering in the kids in our community, because true happiness comes through helping others. #thankstoeducation, Room to Read has given 10 million children the opportunity to reach their full potential through literacy. www.roomtoread.org
Review from #MyGivingStory
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
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 :)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
After reading John Wood's book 'Leaving Microsoft to Change the World' I knew I just had to get involved with this organisation. I have enjoyed volunteering for RtR on and off in Sydney and London over the last few years and am constantly impressed with the calibre of volunteers it attracts. Everyone is so professional and dedicated to the cause which results in some pretty amazing things happening. It's a pleasure to be part of such a well oiled machine of goodness.
For the past 6 years, I have happily and enthusiastically been a part of the volunteer chapter team in Singapore, raising significant funds for Room to Read’s programs in Asia and Africa. Room to Read is an exceptional non-profit that has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for the past 8 consecutive years. As a donor and a volunteer, I am confident that Room to Read is using the funds in the most impactful way possible to provide children access to a quality education in developing countries. In fact, I have seen firsthand Room to Read’s operations in Cambodia and Vietnam and have seen the positive outcomes on the children and their communities! It is very evident that Room to Read delivers on their mission – to build quality schools and libraries, provide teacher and librarian training in literacy, to publish local-language books, and to support girls’ education. All of these programs are supported by Room to Read’s “Monitoring and Evaluation” process that uses independent monitors to evaluate the efficacy of their programs. If a program is not producing the desired results, Room to Read will make the necessary changes to improve it. Room to Read continues to evolve and improve its programs. They are committed to excellence! Finally, the programs in each of the ten countries are managed by local teams. This deliberate and strategic model makes for a more sustainable and lasting endeavor.
I have volunteered for other well-known non-profits, but none compare to Room to Read. This is where I want to spend my volunteer time and my donations because the impact is a significant game-changer for so many children!
I volunteered for Room to Read because I've seen the impact literacy has on families. I can't imagine a world without words; where you have to ask a stranger what you should pay for a bus ticket or before that, if this is the queue for bus tickets. The feeling of sheer impotence would overwhelm me. Room to Read has a laser focus on educating girls which, in my opinion, is why it succeeds. It stands for something and its people stand for something. The world it moves in is very complex but the goals are simple and few. There is no noise, no chatter, no wondering what it's all about. We know what it's about and we're all working towards the one thing. Clarity of vision is the most powerful thing a non-profit can have, and Room to Read has it.
Room to Read is an impressive non profit organisation and I have been involved as a volunteer for the Sydney Chapter. The volunteer and chapter leaders are highly organised and get excellent results from their hard work. The organisation places importance on accountability and the achievements in terms of the number of books, libraries and education programs rolled out, particularly for girls, is inspiring.
I have been involved with the Sydney Chapter of Room 2 Read for just over a year now. The committee is really skilled, friendly and welcoming. Every contribution that you offer is celebrated regardless of whether this is big or small and they offer lots of assistance as you learn about being involved in a nonprofit organisation. This approach is consistent with my experience of how R2R globally has been established and conducted and is integral to the wonderful achievements of the organisation. I encourage you to consider becoming a part of the R2R community.
I first heard of Room to Read in 2011 in a presentation by the Founder John Wood. What struck me was the business-like structure including partnerships with local communities, a war on overhead, their transparency and accountability. Three years later with a break from full time work I have my chance to help them by funding a school build and doing all I can to raise funds and awareness of Room to Read's great programs so that they can reach 10 million children by 2015.
My involvement with Room to Read started in 2009, after a friend gifted me the book 'Leaving Microsoft to Change the World'. From the get go my involvement with the Sydney Chapter of Room to Read was very rewarding and inspiring. All of the people whom volunteer their time are intelligent, exceptional leaders and it was very satisfying to work alongside and collaborate with these volunteers.
I am particularly drawn to the work that Room to Read does, as I truly believe that it is education that can change the world. Education is the basis for the reduction of poverty, violence, trafficking, disease, political unrest and other ailments that plague the less developed parts of the world.
The 'open book' business style that Room to Read operates in is comforting from a donor point of view. We have the ability to physically see the change that our donations make. Room to Read also does what many charities do not by quantifying and publishing their goals and metrics allowing donors to clearly see and decide for themselves the effectiveness of their donations.
Living close to Asia I am aware of the many problems facing education in the widely diverse regions. Over many years, I have liked the way that Room to Read has adapted to new ideas, learnt from prior mistakes and, in particular, centred the ownership of the local language book publishing and library and school construction on the local communities. Educating the young to learn about the world with the added advantage of incorporating their own languages and perspectives adds to a richer learning experience which benefits not only the local culture but contributes to the world's uniqueness and diversity.
I first became aware of Room to Read in I think 2011 or 2012 on stumbling across John Wood's book 'Leaving Microsoft to Change the World'. It is a great read and most inspiring even to those who are not charity minded.
I have become a volunteer at the Sydney Chapter and might I say what a well organised and productive chapter it is. Having run many business over the years I can say that these people are good operators. And they do not waste any funds, its a tight ship.
I have sponsored a library in Nepal which is now completed and I will very much enjoy visiting soon. I also assisted with The Wine Gala in March this year where we raised $2.4m, in the room on the night, which I still think is extraordinary. But to see Room to Read in operation it is actually not that extraordinary. These people deliver results.
One of the features of Room to Read that I find appealing is their focus on the solution to global illiteracy rather than being preoccupied the problem. Of course there is a major problem, that is why Room to Read and others are working in this area, but Room to Read attention is on what can be realistically achieved and where. I also like their follow up, assisting in areas on an ongoing basis not just building schools and leaving it for the villages to run them. And with this their ongoing measuring of their results. This is not a charity handing out funds to the needy. It is a well organised operation where the recipients must be shareholders in the plan and must take ownership.
I am sure Room to Read are assisting in educating and developing productive and worthy citizens in the countries where they operate and could not recommend the organisation more highly.
In 2012 my wife and I read John Wood's book " Leaving Microsoft to Change the World "
We were truly inspired and set about becoming involved together with our family ...both daughters and including our 5 grandchildren.
We set ourselves a goal of raising $ 20,000 in 2013 to fund and resource a library in Cambodia.
We worked closely with Room to Read Sydney and organised a large number of functions. With the generous support of friends and family, we raised $ 40,000. This included many functions arranged organised by our grandchildren at their schools.
Our major fund raising event was a food and wine festival which our family organised in a suburb of Sydney where we had 55 local companies participate. I have now joined the Rotary Club of St Ives and they have kindly agreed to make the St Ives Food and Wine Festival their major annual fund raising event and will donate half of all funds to Room to Read.
In March, we attended the Wine Gala in Sydney where we met John Wood who gave a superb speech and which raised over $ 2.4 million dollars. One of our friends at our table was so inspired that he decided that all his donations to charity will in future be given to Room to Read.
We maintain our ongoing commitment to Room to Read and my wife and I are taking all our family to Cambodia to the opening of the library built by Room to Read. This will further inspire our grandchildren to support the biggest challenge in the world which is improving access to education and providing literacy.
Peter Lorschy Sydney Australia
I first became aware of Room to Read through a friend who initially volunteered with them, and is now a Chapter Leader. I found John Wood's book to be inspirational, and have lent it to friends to spread the word. I initially fundraised for Room to Read by running a marathon, and recently have contributed part of my wedding gifts to them. I have chosen my donations to go to Girl's Education as I am a fervent believer in equal opportunities in education which unfortunately are not reflected everywhere.
Room to Read is an efficient, effective charity that follows through on its promises, from the very small to the world changing.