Today, I am looking at Room to Read.
What I find so important about this non-profit organization is that it promotes literacy and education in countries such as Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zambia, Vietnam, South Africa, Laos, Bangladesh, and Cambodia. They are also advocates for equality in education, therefore, boys and girls would receive the same opportunities.
These countries have communities that don't have many resources for literacy or education. Many young children will grow up without learning how to read or write, which in turn hurts their chances at reaching their potential and at survival. It's pretty wonderful to see an organization helping out and working to fill that gap. I hope Room to Read does expand to other countries and communities in the developing world to give other children a chance at an education.
But how do they accomplish that goal? They train teachers on literacy education, publish children's books, support education for girls so that they can complete secondary education, construct schools and set up school libraries.
Below is a little chart from their website showing what they have accomplished so far in each category.
The books they publish are for various reading levels and introduce vocabulary, math and health issues to children. The stories are based on local stories or are completely original tales. The authors and illustrators are local talents in the community and country. As I mentioned before, books are written in the local languages. For example, India has several local languages and these are the ones Room to Read has published in : Hindi, Garhwali, Telugu, Rajasthani, Bundelkhandi and Chhattisgarhi.
School libraries are meant to act as resource hubs for children. Not having the internet at home or a wealth of free information on almost every block seems unimaginable, but it is a reality for people in other parts of the world. Having a place that allows children to keep learning and reading is important for their education. Also, allowing them to explore how to look for information and decide what is relevant to them is a different aspect of literacy (i.e. information literacy). These libraries have a diverse set of resources on art, poetry, rhymes, the environment, etc.
What's really great too is that Room to Read goes beyond just building the library. They help school administration and staff learn how to run it and keep it going. They also make a conscious effort to help the school integrate the library into school life (i.e. creating opportunities for kids to go to the library during the school day).
So please visit their website and find out how you can contribute to the organization and to getting children their chance at an education. You can volunteer with the organization, you can start your own fundraising group or adopt a project. There are a lot of options to choose from so check them out.