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Room to Read

by Nannette Eaton on March 17, 2011

Welcome to Philanthropy Thursday, where we profile people, products, and organizations that showcase the best nature of humankind.

“Only the educated are free.” — Epictetus

“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” — Diogenes Laertius

There are 775 million people in the world who are illiterate – with 300 million children without access to education. Daunting statistics to be sure. But when your aim to change the world, you have to being somewhere. This story begins at the top of the world, the hero is a humble book.

Room to Read was created by John Wood due to an experience he had when he was backpacking in Nepal. Wood chanced upon a school where the only reading material in the library were cast-off books from tourists. He vowed to return and bring much needed primers and literature to the students. And return he did. Not only did he bring the promised books to the Nepalese children, left his job at Microsoft and he created a non-profit organization that has created over 11,000 libraries, 1,400 schools and distributed 9.4 million books. The project is chronicled in John Woods best-selling book, “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

The program began by donating books, and then building libraries and has expanded into building schoolrooms, publishing books in the indigenous languages, sponsoring girls scholarships, and sponsoring literacy pilots. To date, they have impacted over 5 million children through the Room to Read programs.

Donate to Room to Read and change the world, one child at a time. Think of it. A book that saved the world.