This month’s Kindness series is about the nonprofit Room to Read. Learn about their literacy and girls education programs in low-income communities and how you can help.

Do you know how many people in the world are illiterate? Approximately 750 million

Of the 750 million, do you know how many are girls and women? Two thirds

I heard about the nonprofit Room to Read in 2013 during our world trip and picked up co-founder John Wood’s book Leaving Microsoft to Change World. Room to Read started by collecting and delivering 3,000 books to a school in Nepal (transported by a yak) and celebrated their 20th anniversary with 37,000 partner schools in multiple countries. Their main focus is creating sustainable literacy and girls education programs in low-income communities.

Thinking about it… literacy and education are things I have taken for granted. My mother was a teacher and I embraced the value of learning at an early age. In the later years of grade school I experienced some bullying, making recess a time of anxiety. I found a refuge in the school library, where I spent lunch breaks reading. My favorites were biographies about inspiring women like Clara Barton and Lucretia Mott. In high school I enjoyed learning and challenged myself to get good grades. It never occurred to me to do anything else after graduation except go to college. And, there was access to financial aid to help with the expenses. But in some communities, children – especially girls – do not have access to primary and secondary school education, which limits their future opportunities.

That’s where Room to Read gets to work . . .

Literacy and Girls Education Programs

Room to Read partners with low-income communities to create and grow literacy programs. They collaborate with government, schools, teachers, and parents to distribute books, train teachers, and promote gender equity in education. Room to Read also partners with authors to write children’s books. I was particularly inspired by the Girl’s Education Program which provides help with school costs, life skills curriculum, and mentoring to help girls complete secondary school. In twenty years Room to Read has made an impact on over 14.3 million children. Here are a few of their accomplishments. . .

  • Girls enrolled in the Girls’ Education Program – 85,313
  • Girls Education Program graduates enrolled in tertiary education or employed – 79%
  • Books distributed – 26 million
  • Teachers trained (per year) – 15,000
  • Children’s books published – 1,582

See full details about Room to Read’s impact on literacy and girl’s education.

Support Room to Read

If you are interested, there are several ways you can support Room to Read’s valuable work in low-income communities.

Kids in Room to Read partner school

Not only are these cute kids having fun reading – they are reading a book about elephants (it reminded me of my adopted elephant, Kindani).

Image credits Room to Read