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Review for READ (Rural Education and Development) Global, San Francisco, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I met a remarkable woman, Toni Neubauer, in 2003. Knowing of my involvement in a number of humanitarian projects, of my background trekking/climbing in Nepal, and my long-held belief that the library is the most important structure in any community, she asked me to become a member of the READ Global Board of Directors. As impressed as I was at what Toni told me about READ, I politely declined because I felt that I was overextended with other commitments. However, in Oct.-Nov. 2004, knowing that I would be on a two-month long trip to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma, Toni asked that I conclude my trip by visiting some of the READ Libraries in Nepal. I agreed to do so. Trekking up the Kali Gandeki gorge in the Himalayan Kingdom of Mustang (a Kingdom within what was then the Kingdom of Nepal), visiting remote villages from Jomson to Tukche along the way, and then moving south to visit villages in the Chitwan area of the south, was a very moving experience. Wherever we went, I was struck by the appreciative way in which the villagers fully understood how their lives had been changed for the better by the assistance provided by READ. In village after village, READ was held in esteem that at times almost approached reverence. Near the end of this trip to Nepal, while in the village of Jhuwani, Toni asked if I would reconsider joining the READ Board. Having witnessed what I have described, I could only say yes. I'm happy that I made this decision because READ has continued to flourish and do good, not only in Nepal but elsewhere as well. READ India has now been established and the first READ Library in India (there are 40 in Nepal) will be dedicated in June followed later this year by our second Indian project. As READ continues to develop projects throughout Nepal and India, the intention is to enter at least 4 more countries in the next three years. The successful efforts of READ to improve the lives of people in developing countries of the world have not gone unnoticed as evidenced by READ being the recipient of the 2006 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation "Access to Learning Award," along with a great deal more recognition over the last few years. READ is doing more good in combating illiteracy, poverty, and lack of opportunity in lesser developed regions of the world than can possibly here be described. I am very proud to play a small role in its accomplishments and I would encourage anyone else with such an interest to also become involved with READ. From the standpoint of personal satisfaction, be assured that it's a decision that won't be regretted.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The respective staffs in the U.S., Nepal and India are all first-rate and dedicated to the principles of READ and to the embodiment and empowerment of the people they have set out to help.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Enter several more countries and expand into Latin America, Africa and other parts of Asia.

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Role:  Board Member & Service on Board of Directors.