You can make a huge difference in this crazy world. And it is so easy to get started.
You can help a child go to school, learn to read and build a life for herself, her family and her community. It only takes less than 3 minutes to start your incredible journey.
And the benefits, especially for children in low-income communities, will grow and grow, almost like compound interest.
Melinda Gates said it well in her inspirational book, Moment of Lift: How empowering women changes the world:
“When you send a girl to school, the good deed never dies. It goes on for generations, advancing very public good, from health to economic gain, to gender equality and national prosperity.”
She explains how this works.
When young women are educated, they are more likely to educate their own girls (and boys) who, in turn, are more likely to educate their girls. Mothers who have benefited from education are more determined to spend their good fortune on their families and their communities. Educated women are more likely to inspire mothers and girls from other families to do the same. This spreads out and helps the whole community, generation after generation, helping to lift everyone up toward a better and more prosperous future.
Access to education and books for young girls in developing countries is one of the best ways to lift whole communities out of poverty.
I have become a big fan of Room to Read and write about it often on this blog and on social media. I can’t help myself and can’t contain my enthusiasm. I hope it is infectious.
You can read about the evidence for the benefits of girls education in my previous post. It is quite amazing.
But, you don’t have to get into the scientific research just yet. You can start by watching a quick video.
In under 3 minutes, you can learn about Room to Read and their remarkable work helping to educate children in 10 countries and growing. Sit back and let it all sink in.
Before all of my enthusiasm took hold, I was cautious when first reading about Room to Read.
John Wood’s story about the creation of Room to Read was very moving. He literally started by bringing over 3,000 books to a school in Nepal who had a library, but no books for the children. Over the next 20 years, with co-founders Erin Ganju and Dinesh Shrestha, 23 million children have been helped.
But, I was not totally sold.
What I learned next put me over the top.
As Room to Read 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. Almost none existed.
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.
They realized that local language books are necessary to help children develop the skills and habits of reading. As co-founder 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 67 manuscript submissions within the first month.”
The next step was to set up workshops to help budding authors and artists with training in writing, illustration and editing. Then 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.
Room To Read is a game changer for children.
If you haven’t already, set side just 3 Minutes to watch this video. It will warm your heart and start you on an incredible and rewarding journey.
Until next time, let our warm hearts soar!
And thank you for caring that little bit extra – it really makes a big difference.