I have been involved with Room to Read since late 2012, after reading John Wood's book. My twin boys, parents and sister and her entire family all came on board and we decided to work together to raise funds to build a library in Cambodia. We had never attempted anything like this before but all felt so passionately that the cause is critical and this organisation is professionally, efficiently and passionately run by a worldwide group of people totally committed to making a difference and to helping those who don't have but deserve to have the right to an education.
I highly recommend anyone seeking to work for change, to join Room to Read!
It has changed our lives as much as those we have raised the funds for. Our family has learnt an immeasurable amount from this experience...which we all continue to be actively involved in.
I've been involved with Room to Read for over 10 years. Having worked with John Wood at Microsoft, I never doubted Room to Read's ability to achieve -- and often exceed -- every ambitious goal they've ever set. That's one reason why I've been involved for so long, but there's so many others... Room to Read is incredibly effective & efficient, there's amazing transparency and incredible dedication & passion in the professionals and volunteers involved with the organisation. Most importantly for me, the way Room to Read engages with the communities they work in is nothing short of inspirational . Yes Room to Read builds schools, libraries, and give scholarships but for me their most enduring legacy is hope and optimism. That's why I am such a HUGE fan.
I invested in the building of four separate libraries in Cambodia since 2010. I was attracted to Room to Read mainly due to the self help model where 15% of the funds required came from the local community giving them ownership and pride in the project - ensuring sustainability.
Education of the youth in these developing countries, in my view, gives the best bang for your buck. (Teach a man to fish)
The fact that I was able to dedicate each library to a loved one with a dedication plaque on the inside wall, was the deal closer.
I visited Cambodia in Feb 2014 with my wife and so so happy with the local Room to Read organisation I invested in another library. Amazing work by Room to Read.
Dave - Sydney, Australia
This organization cannot be recommended highly enough. They are highly transparent and without any agenda other than to maximize their impact on world literacy through the most efficient means. It is not for those who are interested in being seen to do good RtR is for people who actually want things to happen.
Their operation is very lean and is very effective. The people in the Sydney chapter (volunteers) are very welcoming and friendly.
Anyone interested should read the book by John Wood first and you will be won over.
Like many, I first learned of Room to Read from reading John Wood's first book. As an IT person the title was compelling! Having read it, I got in touch with the Sydney chapter. I've done a little work in the Non-profit sector before and felt that though the organisations I'd worked with were well-intentioned, I didn't necessarily share the same ethos when it came to getting things done. This is so different at Room to Read - the organisation is very goal oriented, ambitious (look at the goals of the Destination Literacy Campaign), well organised, metric-oriented and fun. At no point though do you forget why you're involved and the thing I particularly love about Room to Read is that volunteers get to experience the tangible benefits of their fundraising - seeing, hearing, meeting the children whose lives they've changed, the opportunity to build a library or school in parts of the world that really needs their assistance. Intellectually, it's a no brainer too - education is the key to world change. World Change starts with educated children.
It's a great organisation to be a part of and I'm very proud to be associated with it.
I fell into Room to Read by serendipity as I was looking to donate a personal monument to someone dear to me whom I lost. Having worked in a extensive corporate (and also academic) background, I set a high bar for the charity organisation I would commit to going through due diligence like that of a corporate merger and acquisition. The questions I had extensive and the scepticism was high as I always felt the charity sector was less than effective.
All this was more than adequately when I had to go and see for myself whether the funds were being put to the right use for such a worthy cause. to that end, I visited Vietnam and Laos (two of the countries that Room to Read was in) and saw first-hand an impressive and meticulous approach to charity. The patience in answering my questions, the look of hope on the children and the pride of the families just overwhelmed me and from there i was sold on the effectiveness, transparency and governance. Never one to stop, I kept setting the bar and continued quizzing Room to Read till today. And till today, it has never disappointed
I've loved reading for most of my 50yrs. Being a regular international traveller over the last 15 yrs I peruse the books in the airports we travel through frequently and it was here more than 5yrs ago that I picked up John Wood's book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. Read it in a couple of days, visited the Australian website on a return journey and volunteered from that point.
Why? There is no greater empowerment than literacy in our world. There is no higher need than to equalise humanity via this beautiful level - that so many of us enjoy and take for granted. And there is still so very little that is done to correct ignorant gender bias in respect of girls' education whether that is due to conflict, cultural issues, religion or poverty or anything else.
John Wood had his defining moment in Nepal and made a promise and saw it through and has not stopped. I love the transparency of Room to Read. I adore that it has created and continues to do so, brand new local industries in the form of publishing, illustration, and social community welfare with and respectfully through local people. I love that people in countries where very few cared before now have a publishing industry thriving with books in their local language. I love that more and more children can get to go to school, that more and more girls are afforded the right they have to get an education and that more and more communities will be strengthened and lifted out of poverty to better their lives but more importantly their communities lives and hence their countries.
I am proud and privileged to do the little that I do as a volunteer for Room to Read - it shares in my mind the excellence, transparency, commitment and results of an NGO on par with Medecins Sans Frontieres which is the only other NGO I give my time and resources to.
Barely two years ago I read John Wood's book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. I finished the book in a few days, went onto the website for Room to Read and ask how I could help or volunteer. I give my time to only two other fully transparent and amazing NGO's - Medecins Sans Frontieres and Youth off the Streets. Along now with Room to Read these NGO's deal with and are effective with the most simplest of concepts. Understanding humanity, caring for humans and believing that World Change begins with children, MSF with their amazing work around the globe, YOTS and their incredible care of abused and forgotten children and young people and Room to Read - their own catch-cry being very correctly: World Changes Starts with Educated Children - empowering girls/women in particular in developing nations to equalize the phenomenal imbalance that we all know exists in regards to the genders and education. Anyone needs only look at the Room to Read statistics now over 12 years, go visit sites in 10 countries, or even whilst in countries where R2R operates talk to the local people. I'm proud to be a very small part of an amazing NGO that hourly, daily, yearly is making the world a much better place for humans.
Room to Read for me is the perfect combination of values alignment and an opportunity to put all my skills to work in a way that truly matters. I'm passionate about literacy and equality, and I like getting things done well and done now! Volunteering for Room to Read lets me apply my coordination, communications and strategic planning skills and provides the opportunity to meet and work with amazing people - both locally and across the globe. I have a greater appreciation for the reality of growing up without books and the opportunity to learn - and the chance to make a tangible difference to addressing these crises across the globe. Room to Read is not only changing lives in the developing work but also changing the paradigm for not for profit management in the developed world. That's an organisation I'm keen to support!
Room to Read achieves wonderful things with limited resources and minimal overhead. I support Room to Read because it is fiscally responsible, continually improves upon its programmes and has such a positive long-term impact upon the communities it works with. World Change Starts With Educated Children!
A not for profit with a positive solution to help individuals and communities who have been dealt a more challenging start to life. I became a volunteer once I learned how Room to Read gets communities to buy in and help create their own solutions (by having communities contribute to new schools, libraries, etc that are built) and through finding and nurturing leaders on the ground where the projects are being done. And by transparently having investors know exactly where the money goes to. I love how the organisation keeps its focus and still constantly innovates its positive solution - by changing both is projects on the ground and how its volunteer chapters continue to raise funds and awareness. I have been volunteering for over three years and look forward to continuing far into the future.
I truly believe Room to Read’s tag line – “World Change Starts with Educated Children”.
After a quick introduction to Room to Read in 2012, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to visit Room to Read’s work in Nepal, see the programmes first hand and see the impact that these programmes have made in the lives of the children they reach. I have also had the pleasure of engaging with my family to raise funds (and awareness) towards the goal of building a library in Cambodia, which we are excited to be visiting in December 2014.
I look forward to continuing and growing my involvement with Room to Read. As an organisation Room to Read is very professional and transparent - it does what it says it will do and it measures what it does. It is very much run like a business, with clear goals and outcomes.
As a volunteer with Room to Read I am confident my efforts are making a significant difference in the lives of children who benefit from Room to Read. I am also confident as a donor that my financial contributions are being invested efficiently and wisely with great impact.
I heard John Wood on ABC 702 earlier this year and was so impressed with everything about Room to Read, not only the work they do (which is amazing) but the professionalism and the growth of the organisation, that I googled it. I was delighted to see they were looking for people to help in the Sydney office. Consequently, I have only been working with Room to Read for the past two weeks, but I am seriously enjoying it. One example of professionalism, comes in the form of timesheets - over the years I have done a lot of volunteer work - never before have I had to give in a timesheet! This, to me, not only sums up the professionalism, it also indicates to me, that they value my time given. I look forward to being involved with Room to Read for the long haul...
I discovered Room to Read while doing a research paper on non-profit organisations for education, and was impressed by their operating model which prioritises local community involvement and implementation. I then volunteered with their Sydney Chapter which focuses on fund raising, but at the same time was privy to more information and updates on projects and progress in the various communities that the organisation had reached. In particular the facilitation of access to education for girls in Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka struck a chord, as these girls' families were previously unable to afford their school fees. Thanks to help from Room to Read, the girls have access to education designed for their local context and are doing well in school.
Where else in the world would you find an organisation so dedicated to giving children a shot at a better life? I've always believed that the way out of poverty is education, Room to Read is doing something about that. It's why I volunteer.
First heard about Room to Read 2 years ago when I heard an interview with John Wood(founder of Room to Read) on the radio. Loved the story of how it all started. Read his book and really wanted to get involved. Have arranged a number of fund raising activities as well being involved with activities organised with the Sydney chapter. Whilst I love being involved in the organised chapter activities , I probably get the biggest buzz from the activities I have organised( which have raised approx $3700) so far as none of that money would have happened if I had not done it. Particularly love the fact that RTR helps girls to get an education and how this will flow through generations as they educate their children and so on.
Room to Read gets five stars from me for a number of reasons
1) It is a very effective organisation - it does what it says on the packet - and does it in a very cost-effective way, with tangible and transparent results
2) It is run like a business, so there are clear goals and outcomes - this makes it easily accessible to donors, volunteers and other interested parties
3) The tagline "World Change Starts with Educated Children" sums it up nicely. Room to Read does educate children, but it goes way beyond this by supporting them into university, providing life skills classes, teaching girls how they can make a positive impact on their communities, and how to say no to things that they don't want.
Volunteering for Room to Read has changed my life - professionally and personally - and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I have had the experience of working with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations on both the personal and professional level over the past twenty-five years. In 2007 I discovered Room to Read and knew that the the bar for professionalism and transparency had been raised to an entirely new level. Room to Read is a game-changer for millions of children throughout the developing world. As a volunteer, I have had the opportunity to visit some of the program sites in both India and Cambodia. Through these experiences, I have seen the impact that Room to Read programs have made in the lives of the children they reach. As a donor, I am confident that my contributions are being invested prudently and efficiently. All contributions made to this organization are truly making a significant difference in the lives of the children who benefit from Room to Read programs.
Over the last twenty years I have worked with and volunteered for countless nonprofit organizations that work domestically and internationally. I can say with confidence I have never been more impressed with and proud to be a part of the Room to Read family. Five years ago the company I work for was searching for a global nonprofit focused on literacy we could partner with as our long term pro bono partner. The criteria we set for our partner was high and the search was extensive. After reading Leaving Microsoft to Change the World our leaders could see the organization operates much like a business – they focus on measured results, efficiency and scalability. They are also a “learning organization,” meaning they listen to and observe the communities and the individuals they serve so that they can always improve. Given their approach, it’s no surprise their passionate and dedicated staff have brought access to education to nearly 8 million children in just over a decade. With a belief that world change starts with educated children, all of the employees, donors and volunteers can be confident their efforts are indeed making a difference.
Room to Read is committed to sustainable world change in every aspect of their operations. From the passionate talent that they recruit around the world to the ongoing innovation that defines their literacy and girls' education programs, Room to Read is a true leader in the non-profit sector. The leadership of the organization has set the bar for excellence high and Room to Read continues to meet the challenge in delivering life-changing educational opportunities to deserving children around the world.
I had the opportunity to visit a Room to Read school in India and all I can say is WOW!!! To see the impact that the organization makes on so many children's lives every day is truly amazing. Very well-run org with high quality staff doing great work. Happy to be a supporter of their efforts to increase literacy around the world.
I have worked with many international organizations, both large and small. Room to Read has found the most passionate and intelligent people from around the world who are dedicated to making a difference in the field of literacy and gender equality in education. And, this is especially true for the country office staff who implement the work on the ground. These are local teams who run in-country operations and not only know what is needed for their own country, but have a commitment to making the children in their country gain an education and be literate.
I have been hearing about Room to Read from my girlfriend, who is an education advocate and a Room to Read donor and supporter—she loves them. After watching Half the Sky, I studied their website and was really impressed with their results. Hard to believe they've built nearly 17,000 schools and libraries in just 11 years. I'm sold—and have volunteered to work with Room to Read this Fall.
I first heard about Room to Read five years ago. I contacted them immediately after reading an article about them, and have worked with them as a consultant ever since. I am also a Room to Read donor. I work with many non-profit organizations, and it's interesting to see how they are all run differently. Room to Read is special because they are incredibly efficient. They work much like a corporation in terms of reaching the highest levels of accountability. Everyone I have met at Room to Read is super professional, smart and fully engaged in their mission. As someone who has been able to look "under the hood," I can tell you that I'm even more convinced that Room to Read is one of the best social change organizations out there. With all the bad news we hear constantly, my involvement with Room to Read has given me an opportunity to see that good work and positive change is happening everyday.
I first learned of Room to Read while living in Singapore. I served as a volunteer for the 2013 Singapore Gala, which raised an incredible amount of money for the program. Room to Read is a wise steward of funds donated and as such, I trust them with not only my time, but with my money.
I am madly in love with the Reading and Writing program as well as the commitment they make to the education process, by following it all the way through tertiary education and beyond.
Room to Read is a great nonprofit that really means a great deal to me. In my school I started a Room to Read Club in order to raise money and do community service, for example reading to children or having book drives. This organization is well developed and they have chapters all across the world. The money that is raised goes to building libraries or educating children. When I first heard about it from an active volunteer, I was not sure how reliable it was with the investment of money; however, it is honestly one of the best nonprofits that I personally have ever worked with. I support it gladly and with my club I am trying to make this fantastic organization more known to teenagers my age.
I first learned about Room To Read after watching the documentary "Half the Sky" and immediately picked up John Wood's book, "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World." I was shocked to learn that over 790MM people (67% female) worldwide lack the ability to read and write. Therefore, putting them in a very disadvantaged position in terms of earning potential, being independent, and educating their own children.
The facts are simple, educated women have smaller, healthier families, earn more, help stimulate the economies of their underdeveloped countries, and are more likely to educate their own families. Therefore, investing in a girl's education can end the cycle of poverty in just one generation.
As a young woman, who's access to a quality education has had such a strong impact on my success and happiness, I believe it's important for us to do what we can to work towards a world where every child has the same opportunity.
Room to Read is an organization unlike any other. Aside from their wonderful, knowledgable and incredibly talented employees, they also boast an amazing volunteer chapter network (which I am proudly a member of) represented within 52 countries.
It's this volunteer chapter network and Room to Read's incredible commitment to keeping internal costs low, that has enabled the organization to contribute 83% of annual revenue in 2012 directly to projects. In addition, they have been recognized for seven consecutive years with Charity Navigator's coveted 4-star rating for their commitment to accountability and transparency.
I discovered the work of Room to Read when I first saw the film "Half the Sky," and I started to follow their work. I love where they work, what they work on and, in particular, their impact on bringing young girls access to education.
I am a donor and will be for the rest of my life. These guys are meeting a serious need.
I've been a volunteer fundraiser for 4 years now and am just as impressed with this charity as when I started. Particularly, I appreciate the focus on efficient and effective use of my money to maximize impact on children's education. I like how they are constantly monitoring what they do and adjusting programs and methodology to ensure success. I don't have a lot of money to donate, and I really want my money to go far in support of kids. With Room to Read I feel confident that it does. Check their website and I think you will be quite impressed with the programs and their results. I originally found Room to Read via John Wood's book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. He just published a second book called Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy.
Review from CharityNavigator
I volunteered at Room to Read for 4 months, and in that time I learned what a phenomenal organization it is. It truly lives up to its reputation as one of the most effective and well-run organizations in the country. The staff are talented, passionate and dedicated. They work long hours and maintain high standards of organization and efficiency. They are also very attentive to and appreciative of their volunteers!
Room to Read is a first class organization that truly makes a difference in this world. By embracing the literacy needs of the developing world, real positive change takes place in the countries that Room to Read is present.
As of 2011, Room to Read has established over 1000 schools, 10,000 libraries and 10,000 scholarships. This is a great start and there is lots more to do.
A recommended read is Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood who is the founder of Room to Read. In the book he shares the vision of Room to Read and the successes taking place to continue the mission of world change through education.
Room to Read is a non-profit organization that enhances literacy and gender equality in the developing world. 85 cents of every dollar goes to those who benefit from it most. In 10 years they had established 1000 schools, 10 000 libraries, and supported 10,000 girls on long term scholarships.
I went to Rajasthan in India and met the bright and hard working students being benefited by Room to Read. The light of knowledge and understanding is shining on them, giving them the tools to shape a better future. I was also very impressed by the commitment and professionalism displayed by Room to Read's staff in India.
Room to Read is a results driven organization that is run like a business. The money donated to Room to Read is properly used as demonstrated by Charity Navigator's 4 star rating for many consecutive years. Room to Read is making education available to many children who would otherwise go without. This is the way to end the cycle of poverty!!
Results oriented, clear vision, fantastic execution of mission, Room to Read has had more impact in 10 years on global education than Andrew Carnegie did. From a skeptical tax lawyer who was dishearted in his search for a charitable organization which I could work with, John Wood and his fantastic team at Room to Read have turned me into a donor and funraising apostle.
Great group of people, very mission driven and work insanely long hours. They often have parties for their volunteers, mostly just consisting of food and chats with other volunteers. One of those meetings led meet to meet a good friend of mine.