Heather Simpson, Chief Program Officer, Room to Read

What was the last piece of nonfiction you read? Do not think too deeply or too far back on this question, as the answer is most likely not the latest biography or war history tome you read. More simply, it is whatever you read that got you to this article — whether a tweet, email or news article, chances are it was non-fiction. Nonfiction and informational text exists all around us and is front and center in our adult lives. We consume it to learn critical information about our world, get directions…

Lucina Di Meco, Director, Girls’ Education Program, Room to Read

My father was one of four kids raised in a home with no running water and no electricity. His small village in Abruzzo, Italy did not have a secondary school and so, to continue his education beyond 8th grade, he moved in with his aunt in a nearby town. After becoming the first child in his hometown to complete high school, he went on to become an accountant. …

By Heather Simpson, Chief Program Officer, Room to Read

Earlier this week, I watched my son walk through the doors of his elementary school and joyfully head off to his first day of second grade. As I said goodbye and wished him a great day at school, I noticed myself hugging him just a little tighter and longer, knowing that this school year — one that is pivotal in his development of literacy skills, reading fluency and comprehension — will bring huge changes in the way he understands, and therefore functions in, the world around him. In the last few…

Ara, a graduate of Room to Read Girls’ Education Program in Sri Lanka

For the average student most struggles occur in the classroom, whether it’s curriculum comprehension or connecting with peers. Yet, for Ara, a young Sri Lankan girl, day to day life came with its own set of challenges. Like thousands of other Muslim Sri Lankans from the Mannar district, Ara’s family moved to the small village of Puttalam after being evicted amidst the country’s 30-year civil war. The battle between two groups, the Sinhalese majority and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has cost the lives of approximately 80,000 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of citizens.


By Dr. Geetha Murali, Chief Development Officer, Room to Read

Students from Room to Read’s children’s Literacy Program in Bangladesh.

This week marks the start of the holiday season in many countries around the world, a time of year when we are inundated with advertisements for toys and games that will be gifts for lucky children. Regardless of age, we are all inspired by the tradition of giving and the magic of play! However, not every child grows up in circumstances that allow them to play and stimulate their imagination on a regular basis. …

Room to Read is a global community. We are investors, volunteers, advocates and staff committed to the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children.® Our website, www.roomtoread.org, serves as a central hub where we are able to connect and share stories from the communities we serve and highlight and celebrate the global network of supporters who help us achieve our ambitious goals. We are all connected through our commitment to the causes of literacy and gender equality in education and together we can scale faster to impact more children. Because of this, we are excited today to re-launch roomtoread.org

Room to Read Cambodia student Kim Yi with her favorite science book, Can it Rain Cats and Dogs?

As sheets of rain pounded the Phoum Khmer Primary School yard into puddles, sixth grader Kim Yi read with her friends in the library. Ignoring the torrent outside, she paged through the colorful illustrations in Can it Rain Cats and Dogs?, a children’s book that answers questions about the weather like, “What happens when air masses bump into each other?”

Kim Yi wasn’t always keen on reading books about the weather — or stars or oceans for that matter. Science just wasn’t a topic her Cambodian village much talked about. …

Room to Read author Farzana Tanni discusses writing for children at the Writers’ Workshop in Bangladesh

This is Part I in a four-part series that will follow over the next several months how Room to Read develops quality children’s books in low-income countries — from initial story concept to the moment the book lands in a child’s hands. You can find all the stories on Medium, or on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #RtRBookLifecycle.

“Room to Read opened up the world of children to me.” — Bangladeshi writer Abul Kalam Azad

One of the greatest challenges to early adoption of the habit of reading in low-income countries is a lack of high quality, age-appropriate children’s…

A student in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program in Tanzania where 76% of girls miss out on secondary school. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

“When I was 16, I experienced the hardest social challenge any girl would want to avoid — teen pregnancy.”

If you stroll far enough into the coastal town of Bagamoyo in Tanzania, away from the cultural, tourist and conference hub it has become, you may catch a glimpse of an unusual site — a school whose classrooms are filled with girls, one of them led by Madam Yustina, as her students like to call her.

In Tanzania, 76% of girls are missing out on secondary school, often due to pregnancy and early marriage. As the ‘focal teacher’ at Kiromo Secondary…

When Nirupa’s mother was young she never had a chance to get an education. In Nepal, girls are seen as financial burdens and tasked with household chores or supplementing the family’s income, which greatly limits their access to quality education.

When she became a single parent, Nirupa’s mother was thankful to find work in the garment industry, sewing hundreds of patterns by hand. She worked long hours for a meager income, having no choice but to leave her daughter at home alone. Nirupa often had to skip meals and struggled to attend school. Finishing her education didn’t seem possible.

Room to Read

World Change Starts with Educated Children.® www.RoomtoRead.org

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