CAN ONE PERSON
REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE
IN TODAY’S WORLD?
Yes You Can and Here’s How
To Help others / To Build a Meaningful Life for Yourself
You can give a child a real chance to go to school, learn to read and build a life for herself, her family and her community.
2 AMAZING FACTS
1 – By helping people from a poor country, your money can often go 100 times further than if you had used your money to help someone in a richer country.
2 – Some charitable organizations can provide 10,000 times more benefit then others.
William MacAskill (Doing Better Good, 2016)
Look at these beaming faces. So sweet and eager to learn.
They are our future and would love your help!
“When you send a girl to school, the good deed never dies. It goes on for generations, advancing every public good, from health to economic gain, to gender equality and national prosperity.”
– Melinda Gates, Moment of Lift (2019)
A LITTLE BACKSTORY (and Inspiration)
A few years ago, I discovered a moving story about a Microsoft executive, John Wood, who came upon a school library in rural Nepal with no books in it. John grew up loving books and it broke his heart to see a school and a library, but no books for the children.
So John came back the next year and hand-delivered over 3,000 donated books to village schools in Nepal. The excitement and gratitude from the children, teachers and the community was overwhelming for him. This profound experience inspired him to quit his job at Microsoft and start the international non-profit organization Room to Read. You can learn more about John’s story from his best-selling book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World and his many videos and talks.
This is a great story about the start of Room to Read – a tremendous achievement by John Wood and his co-founders Erin Ganju and Dinesh Shrestha. But I was not totally sold – until I read about the next big step they took.
As they started to bring books to school libraries, and in many cases creating libraries where none existed, they found that there were almost no books written for young children in their own language. In many cases, no books had ever even been published.
The founders discovered that for many of the parents, in the developing countries where Room to Read works, there is no money to buy books. What little money they have goes to food and basic necessities for survival. And because there are so few people to buy such books, almost none are written or published. There is no market for them.
To move past this big obstacle, the Room to Read founders decided to do the publishing themselves. No one else was doing this, so they jumped right in. This is what John Wood calls GSD or getting shit done. (Check out his funny and inspiring video.)
They realized that local language books are necessary to help children develop the skills and habits of reading. As Erin Ganju said, “That’s how children learn to read – by starting with the language they hear spoken in their home environment.”
To get this publishing started, they knew they wanted to set up local people to create these books. First, they scouted for local talent and were surprised at the vigorous response. As John Wood wrote, “Once word got out that Room to Read was willing to pay local authors and artists, we had 60 – 70 manuscript submissions within the first month.”
The publishing program was off and running.
Co-founder Dinesh Shrestha described what happened: “We published fourteen books during the first two years: I was so so happy. In Nepal, we single-handedly created a market for children’s picture books. All those commercial publishers who didn’t agree with me are now producing similar books.”
John was just as excited. “Within three years, our teams in Cambodia, Laos, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam were producing more than a hundred new and original titles each year, using local authors and artists.” GSD can really make things happen.
This put me over the top. I am all in now.
And there is more good news. Books developed in partnership with Room to Read are regularly recognized for their superior quality, winning several national book awards.
In 2011, the UN acknowledged Room to Read’s contribution to children’s book publishing with the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy.
In 2020, Room to Read was one of three Library of Congress Literacy Award winners.
Room to Read also supports the local publishing industry by producing those children’s books entirely in-country — purchasing materials locally and partnering with local printers.
By fostering local talents’ ability to create effective children’s books and by publishing them in-country, Room to Read is encouraging low-income regions to build their capacity to publish high-quality, local language children’s books on their own.
This is not just a win for children and teachers. This is a big win for the whole community.
And there is even more, much more. For example, Room to Read promotes gender equality through direct mentoring and support with their Girls Education Program.
I could go on and on – and I will. Please check out my ongoing blog, A Warm Heart for many details and warm inspiration to come.
You can make a huge difference.
You can help a child go to school, learn to read and build a life for herself, her family and her community.
Room To Read is a game changer for children. Learn more (with this video) in under 3 Minutes. It will warm your heart.