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Shauna Carey
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When Room to Read launched our Girls’ Education program in Tanzania last year in a remote area called Turiani, we knew there would be many challenges. Many of the girls in our program travel more than 10 kilometers to and from school each day on foot and early marriage and pregnancy are common in the area. In order to confront all of these issues head-on and give the girls on our program the best possible chance of success, parent engagement was an integral component from the very beginning. Once our first set of three schools had been selected, our team... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Now more than 15,000 strong, our network of school libraries has provided millions of children with a safe place to develop and nurture a love of reading. Key to the success of each library is a standard 3-year period of monitoring and support, in which the school receives regular library training from our staff. In order to make the three years of support more effective, our team undertook a project over the past two years to develop a rating system for libraries—a series of sequenced indicators that provide insight into how well a particular school library is functioning. In addition... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Last week, the world celebrated the second annual International Day of the Girl Child, a United Nations holiday dedicated to recognizing girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face in the world. This year’s theme for the holiday, Innovating for Girls’ Education, is one that hit especially close to home for us at Room to Read, so we decided to share a few of our favorite program innovations from the past year, featured in the gallery below. Africa In Tanzania, our team held an Academic Bonanza for all Form Two (second year) girls from our three partner schools. Framed as... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
As it has made its way around the globe, Girl Rising has inspired, educated and galvanized audiences, and the response to Suma's story has been overwhelming. After attending a screening at the local Boys & Girls Club in Red Bank, New Jersey, a few girls were inspired to write letters to Suma and share their reaction to her story. Below is one of their letters. ***** To see Girl Rising for yourself, check out one of the screenings this week in honor of International Day of the Girl Child. Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Shelly Dee is a volunteer Chapter Leader for Room to Read in Singapore. ***** Can you imagine what it would be like for your whole family to live on a dollar a day? To have no electricity for lights at night when you do your homework? To have no TV, no telephone, no running water? In the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, I recently met one young girl who lives just like this. I had the pleasure of visiting with Phien and her mother with Room to Read Vietnam staff. Phien is 12 years old and starting 6th grade. Her father... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Yesterday, the Room to Read Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter helped kick off this year’s Booktober festivities with their very own Booktoberfest celebration at a local brewery. With over 200 people in attendance, the event boasted great food, live music and—of course—a focus on global literacy. With last night’s success in Dallas, it’s official: Booktober is under way. And for those of you still working on planning your own Booktober events, it’s not too late! Check out our Booktober website and Fundraiser Toolkit for everything you need to make it a success. Photos courtesy of and the Room to Read DFW... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Last year, Room to Read’s awesome, entrepreneurial Chapter Network got together and launched a month-long initiative to support literacy: Booktober. Throughout the month of October, events took place in cities around the globe, bringing our vision of a world in which every child learns to read and write to new audiences and raising funds for Room to Read’s programs along the way. This year we are taking it to the next level, and we want YOU to get involved! Room to Read has launched a special Booktober website, complete with event-planning kits, information about our work and some fun social... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Laura Scott is the social director for MEC and founder of The Locals. Last year, she joined the inaugural Techbikers ride from Paris to London to raise funds and awareness for Room to Read, and is preparing to make the journey a second time. ***** The impact of education extends beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. Education results in raising income, improving health, promoting gender equality, mitigating climate change, and reducing poverty. Education has the power to make the world a better place. So, when I was approached in a pub and asked if I wanted to ride 320 km from... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Annalisa Burrello has supported Room to Read for more than five years and is an active member of our UK Advisory Board. In 2013, she and her husband joined Room to Read on a trip to visit our programs in South Africa, along with their children. In this guest post, Annalisa shares her perspective and her photos from the trip. ***** In 2006, Room to Read made a momentous decision to expand its programs from Asia into Africa. As we know, Africa has specific challenges for any non-profit organization due to the costs of doing business and saturation of the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
This post is part of the ongoing series, Show and Tell, where we bring you photos and stories collected by Room to Read team members on the road. ***** This week, Room to Read staff, schools and friends across Nepal gathered to celebrate National Library day and International Literacy Day. Our team captured a few photos of all the festivities, and we are excited to share them with you on our blog. Check out the various celebrations below and let us know how you are celebrating International Literacy Day! In Kathmandu, one of our partner organizations held a Book Fair... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
For all of Room to Read's projects, we know that the key to sustainability is based on strong partnership with the local community, particularly parents. For this reason, we work directly with key stakeholders in each partner community to develop support for our work in literacy and girls' education. In 2013, we even put together a new set of guidelines, based on best practices from each of the countries where we work, to take our family and community engagement efforts to the next level. Watch the following video to hear from community-members in Laos, Nepal and Zambia about working with... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Last month, American professional rock climber Paige Claassen left home to set out on an adventure. At a rate of one country per month, Paige will climb some harrowing peaks over the next year, raising money along the way for one organization in each country. In July, Paige began her trip in South Africa—climbing some of the country’s most challenging terrain and raising funds for Room to Read. While she was in the country, she stopped by Wesley Memorial School in Mpumalanga to see a Room to Read library in action. The Wesley Memorial School library was awarded a regional... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Each morning, Noy and Herng walk hand in hand along the long road between their home and Xay Secondary School. The sisters—who are 12 and 16 years old, respectively—wake up at 4:00am each day to finish their daily chores before heading off to school. They must be out of the house by 6:30 to have enough time to complete the 70-minute journey to school. The long walk does not normally bother Noy, who loves spending time with her older sister, but it can be challenging, she confesses, during the rainy season. On the way to school, the two girls pass... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Nchimunya never liked English class. Knowing that she could not read well and afraid that she would be called on by the teacher to read in front of the entire class, she would sit silently and never participate by choice. Her friend Romney, on the other hand, enjoyed every minute. He loved reading, and had spent countless hours in the Itebe Primary School library since it opened last year. He also took books home often, reading them in his spare time. Occationally, Nchimunya would join Romney in the library, and he would read aloud so that she could follow along.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Dinesh Shrestha is a co-founder of Room to Read and currently serves as our director of field operations. In this guest blog, he shares his experience accepting an a recent award in Cambodia. ***** When I heard from Kall, our Country Director for Cambodia, that CEO Erin Ganju and I have been selected to receive a royal award from His Majesty the King of Cambodia, I was speechless. The first thought that crossed my mind was ‘Why me?’ Kall told me that the government wanted to recognize the founders of a first-class organization dedicated to helping Cambodian children as a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
July 12, 2013 is the 16th birthday of Malala Yousafzai, a girls’ education activist who was brutally shot for speaking out in October 2012, and the first ever Malala Day as designated by the United Nations. In a speech commemorating the event, Malala called upon girls around the world to stand up for their rights—to fight for an education against all odds. It is in that spirit and in honor of Malala Day that we bring you the story of Leakhena, an alumna of our Girls’ Education program who is forging her own path to success. ***** Leakhena’s life could... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Sirisha waves goodbye to her mother and heads off to school. Even though there is ample time before class starts, she takes long strides—rushing to spend her morning among the colorful books in her school library. Before the bell rings, she has time to read a couple of stories. All days start this way for Sirisha. The library at her school in Andhra Pradesh was established in 2011, and she has been a regular visitor ever since. As a 3rd grader when the library opened its doors, Sirisha was still struggling to read well, but that did not stop her... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Manjushree Thapa is the author of Suma's story in the film Girl Rising, in addition to several books on Nepal. Below is an abstract from her essay, EXTRAORDINARY GIRLS: The Former Kamlari of Nepal, in which she discusses her meetings with two of Room to Read’s Girls’ Education program students, Suma and Nisha. Read the full essay | Hear from Manjushree ***** I met Suma in New York, when she came to sing a song about her experience as a kamlari at the Lincoln Center on International Women’s Day, for Newsweek/The Daily Beast’s Women in the World Summit. Her performance,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Since opening in theaters this March, the groundbreaking film Girl Rising and its real-life stars have helped fuel a movement. Bound by their mutual struggle to earn an education and united in courage, the nine young women in the film have invited audiences around the globe to hear their stories, serving as a call to action for all of the 600 million girls living in developing countries today—many of whom face similar struggles. One of those stories belongs to Suma, one of more that 20,000 students currently enrolled in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education program. After being rescued from a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Amphone’s parents were both farmers in Ban Kern, a Lao village far from the capital of Vientiane. They were extremely proud when their daughter graduated from university and became a teacher. When she first accepted the job of 1st grade teacher for Sikhounmueng Primary School, Amphone remembers being extremely nervous. “I was a very quiet, shy and reluctant teacher,” she says. “I always wanted to create a fun atmosphere in my class, but I did not know how.” The environment was stressful, and she felt enormous pressure to fly through the curriculum quickly. “Every day,” says Amphone, “we, the teachers,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Lynn Foden joined Room to Read as Chief of International Operations in 2012 with 25 years of experience working in developing countries, including a role as Chief of Operations for the Africa Region of the Peace Corps. Six months into her new role, we caught up with Lynn to hear more about her career in international development and about what’s to come in the months ahead. How did you originally get into the field of international development? When I was in high school I went to a presentation by a Peace Corps volunteer who had constructed a library in Togo,... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
Innovation and partnership are central to everything we do at Room to Read and crucial to our ability to scale with quality. With that in mind, our Girls’ Education team set about a new technology pilot in late 2012, partnering with Lenovo to investigate the potential use of laptop computers for our program’s field staff. Room to Read employs social mobilizers to support and track the progress of each girl we work with. Equal parts teacher, advocate and counselor, these women are tasked with delivering life skills curriculum, conducting home visits, monitoring attendance and a myriad of other duties that... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
At 14 years old, Kurlithlimli has lived in the same village her whole life. She has three older siblings, but since her parents’ divorce, she has lived alone with her father, who works as a farmer and participates in local politics. Kurlithlimli’s day typically starts at 6:00am, when she prepares for school, which is a short, 15-minute walk from home. At school she excels in science, physics in particular. “I find it very easy to understand,” she says with a smile. Physics is not only fun for Kurlithlimli, but an important step in achieving her dream of becoming an engineer.... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
The only girl child born to her parents, 21-year-old Sreymom Mat is the middle sibling in a family of five. Her parents are illiterate farmers who own a small plot of land, but their yield is often insufficient income, so her mother also makes akor (rice cakes) to sell in the village market. Because of her family’s financial hardship, Sreymom’s mother suggested that she quit school after 6th grade in order to help provide additional income, but the young girl was persistent. Sreymom’s passion for education gave her courage to negotiate with her mother until a truce was found and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2013 at Room to Read Blog
2012 was an incredible year for our Girls' Education program, with the launch of our program in a new country, Tanzania, increased visibility through two groundbreaking media partnerships (with 10x10's Girl Rising and the Half the Sky Movement), and most importantly, with the enrollment of the program's 20,000th participant. As audiences around the world got a chance to see our work up close on screens large and small, our teams in nine countries worked tirelessly to ensure each of those 20,000 girls has the chance to find her own path to success—providing life skills training, holding tutoring sessions and helping... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2013 at Room to Read Blog