Posted by admin on 12.17.2007 at 10:59 am
As I wrote previously, the holidays offer a chance to give gifts with a little more meaning than that new “Best moments of Reality TV calendar.” I also wrote about Charity Navigator but I failed to make the connection. I’ve been searching through the blogosphere and I’ve been seeing plenty of suggestions for gifts to your coworkers, clients or like minded friends and there’s one that keeps coming up: Note the fourth idea at this website: “Make a donation in their name to a charity like Kiva or Room to Read.” That Kiva idea sounds strangely familiar… but how about Room to Read? Did you know that for only $250 you can sponsor a girl’s education for a WHOLE YEAR via Room to Read? Amazing! $10,000 will construct a library and fill it with books, puzzles, games and furniture. Seriously.
I’ve already elucidated why Kiva is great, and if you look around and listen then you know that all of our partners are fantastic but if you’re not sold, Riches for Good, an excellent blog about social responsibility did a report called “Seven Best Bets for International Giving.” The report shows the only seven international non-profits that have both Fast Company’s Social Capitalist Award and Charity Navigator’s 4 Star Rating. Room to Read is one of those illustrious seven!
If you’re not sure that people want gifts in their name so much as gifts in their hands, there’s still some great options. Obviously you could buy a book from us where you’d be certain that portions of profit would go to our partners and that shipping would be carbon neutral (and free in the US). But if you’re in the mood for something different check this out:
Flipanthropic is a company that sells flip flops through their site, Flipanthropy. A new product comes out each year and the two founders donated all the startup money so 100% of your cash goes to support Room to Read and Women for Women International.
Posted by admin on 12.17.2007 at 9:01 am
Our four Global Literacy Partners are all world class organizations that make a huge impact for literacy, as you’ve seen on this very blog. You can even see testimonials about our relationship on YouTube. We don’t often post about the other 74+. Since I’m based out of our warehouse here in Mishawaka, I am lucky enough to meet some of the people in these other groups and hear about the huge impact they make in people’s lives. They don’t necessarily make headlines, but they do make a difference.
Anne Gongwer is one such woman. As a teacher-turned-missionary, she started the Ankaase Literacy Program in Ankasse, Ghana. Under her leadership, the program has taught over 80 adults and children to read in their native tongue. She has continued to expand the young program, recently completing the Reading Town Community Library which will provide for the education of future generations of Ghanaian children.
Anne is originally from Mishawaka and had heard about us through an acquaintance. I met with her and asked what Better World Books could do to help. At the time, she was near finishing her library and really needed books. We were more than happy to oblige.
Unfortunately I couldn’t meet with them when she and her husband came in to select them. I had a meeting with another potential partner (more on that in the coming months) so I asked my colleague, Jon Metzger, to assist them. Jon spent his early years in Sierra Leone, where his dad was a surgeon. It turns out that Anne’s husband, Cameron, remembered meeting Jon and his dad over 18 years ago in Sierra Leone. I guess the Sherman Brothers were right.
The Gongwers were able to take 4 boxes of books with them on their way back to Ghana. We hope to be able to get them more books in the future!
Posted by admin on 12.16.2007 at 5:29 pm
Posted by Natasha Harris, West Coast Senior Director
On December 28th, a small group of Better World Books delegates will be departing these
In the four years that the Khmer Rouge reigned from 1975 to 1979, they killed nearly all educated Cambodians, thus wiping out a whole generation of literate role models. Today, roughly 80% of Cambodian citizens are subsistence farmers or work in very low-wage jobs such as food processing and forestry. Child labor is prevalent at very high rates, in fact, 42% of children aged 14-17 work in order to help sustain their families. Half of all young girls work, and one third of boys work; the ratio of boys to girls attending secondary school is 3:1.
According to the United Nations Development Program, 80% of Cambodians attend primary school; however, only 19% continue on to secondary. Only 5.4% of Cambodian villages have a lower secondary school, and only 2% have an upper secondary. Students who want to attend secondary school must often walk miles to reach the nearest school.
Through 2006, Room to read has established 807 libraries and 45 computer labs in Cambodia. It has also published 45 local language titles and put 656 deserving young girls on scholarship. Room to Read currently has 19 full-time staff members in Cambodia alone. These staff are local – they speak Khmer, understand the customs and laws, and are best suited to help implement Room to Read programs so that Cambodian children can benefit through increased educational opportunities. Our delegation is looking forward with great enthusiasm to meeting the Room to Read staff and students that benefit from Room to Read programs – check back in a couple of weeks to learn more about our on-the-ground experience!
Above: Cambodian Room to Read staff
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized
Posted by admin on 12.14.2007 at 4:51 pm
Posted by Silvia Sweidan, Northwest Regional Director
After reading John Wood’s Book, “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children,” I was greatly inspired to say the least. It reaffirmed my commitment to the amazing work we are doing with Better World Books, from simply running book drives on college campuses so we can live in a Better World. On page 116, John asks, “You say you want a Revolution?” and then suggests an answer: “THINK BIG FROM DAY ONE.” He continues to say, “when I started Room to Read, I declared immediately that our goal was to help 10 million children to gain the lifelong gift of education.” And true enough, Wood’s words are coming true everyday of our lives. As you continue your amazing book drives, think BIG and be part of a Better World for all!
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized
Posted by admin on 12.14.2007 at 10:54 am
Authors in Britain are putting pressure on the Prime Minister to nip illiteracy in the bud. 545 authors signed a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown expressing their concern over poor reading skills among British youth. An official statistic released showed that one in five 11 year old British school children are not able to read to the minimum standard.
They could be scared of a plummeting book sales, but my bet is that they and many others are scared of a world where kids aren’t well educated enough to read and savor Roald Dahl. Seriously, childhood without Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The Witches can barely be called childhood.
And before anyone even suggests it, the movies do the books no justice. Grab a cup of cocoa, snuggle up with your favorite Dahl book, and relive your childhood this weekend. I know how to recognize a witch, do you??
Have your say » | Tagged Book & Author News, Book Reviews, authors, literacy, roald dahl, UK
Posted by admin on 12.13.2007 at 8:37 am
Just received this great email from Martha Schouten at University of Oran in Algeria:
Dear Pat and Sarah Lynne and all the people from Books for Africa and Better World Books,
I speak for all of my students at Es-Senia University Department of English when I say we are thrilled and thankful to have received in our storehouse the 688 boxes of books from you today. More than 50 of us helped to unload the truck, take pictures, and otherwise celebrate the long awaited arrival of your generous donation. After finding a safe storage room to temporarily put the books before dispatching them to the different university libraries the English club members helped me give a reception for the university workers and all the students who helped in the day’s work.
Algerians and especially the youth want so much to open up to the world, to learn languages, to visit and share ideas and to have visitors from other countries come also to visit this beautiful country so varied in culture and landscape. Thank you again for trusting us with this wonderful gift of support in learning the English language and enlarging our knowledge of American culture. We will continue to send pictures, newspaper articles and e-mails to keep you up to date with our future activities.
Martha Schouten and English students
This is Books for Africa’s first shipment to Algeria , and the shipping was completely funded by the newly-established Better World Books Fund for Books for Africa . We’ve been following the story of this shipment since September – here are the previous blog postings:
Here are some more pictures from the arrival!
Posted by admin on 12.12.2007 at 8:37 am
NCFL challenged its hometown, Louisville, KY, to become a leader in literacy. Sharon Darling’s letter to Louisville outlines literacy statistics in Jefferson County. She points out that 27.4% of the working age population has deficient literacy skills. 47,000 adults (25+ years) do not have high school diplomas, and 21% of families with young children have annual incomes below the poverty line. As the wealth of research regarding literacy has shown (thank you NCFL, for contributing so vastly to this collection), parents’ education and income level are the most consistent predictors of a child’s success in education.
A great first step toward improving your family’s literacy success is making reading, speaking, and writing with your children a fun family routine. Verizon and NCFL’s Thinkfinity provides a variety of resources for parents who want to make reading a family event. The NCFL magazine “Cultivating Readers” is available for download or purchase. This magazine provides tips and activity ideas for parents who want to raise children who love to read. The magazine has activities aimed at children aged birth – 2 years old, 3 – 5 years, 6 – 8 years.
This holiday season, help Better World Books support National Center for Family Literacy’s efforts to improve lives all over our country by shopping at BetterWorld!
Have your say » | Tagged Our Partners, Kentucky, Louisville, NCFL, Our Partners
Posted by admin on 12.11.2007 at 3:36 pm
Last week, Action Child Mobilization in Ghana received their 20-foot container of books from Books for Africa! The shipment contained lots of new books and left the U.S. back in September – $8,000 of the shipping costs were funded by the Better World Books Fund.
Here’s a statement from the National Director of Action Child Mobilization, Pastor Francis Opoku:
As for the quality of the books … I must tell you I am VERY HAPPY. The books are very good. The workbooks in particular would be very helpful to our village schools where they have no books at all. They will have something to work with. My wife is a professional teacher and has confessed the books will make teaching easier for the schools that would receive them. She admits they are more fun to teach with than the Ghanaian books. I am very happy with the content of the container.
Here are some pictures from the arrival!
Have your say » | Tagged Impact, Our Partners, africa, books for africa, ghana, Impact, Our Partners
Posted by admin on 12.11.2007 at 11:11 am
In 2006 Sonia Sosa approached Better World Books about starting a book drive with AMSA (the American Medical Student Association) to support global literacy efforts in Africa through the non-for-profit organization, Books for Africa . At the ’06 National Convention this drive raised 500 books in just a few days. Michael A. Casey succeeded Sonia in her position and saw the opportunity to take her dream and build upon it. During the months to come he would turn her efforts into a nation wide book drive that spanned the country with drives at 28 schools and an additional 10,500 books collected. Thanks to all the books AMSA has collected Books for Africa can fund the shipment of 30,000 books to Africa , enough to fill 15 schools!
These book drives are truly making a difference in the lives of impoverished people. Books collected in a Better World Books /AMSA drive will either be sold to raise much-needed funding for Books for Africa , or they will be sent to their collection center for shipping overseas. Pat Plonski, Executive Director, Books for Africa , notes, “By increasing African literacy, we decrease African poverty. Every book donated by a student or a bookstore puts us that much closer to ending the African book famine.”
Better World Books has provided $3420 to AMSA chapters, and has allocated $1056.75 for a travel scholarship to Africa . The hope is to make improving literacy in Africa an everyday, every chapter effort that expands each year. With increasing book collections we hope to have a growth of this fellowship to fund not only travel but support promising students in their development of an on the ground literacy initiative in Africa.
To read the entire article pick up a copy of December’s New Physician Magazine or visit this link, www.amsa.org/chapoff/BWB.cfm
AMSA: It takes more than medical school to make a physician
Posted by admin on 12.11.2007 at 10:14 am
Hey, if you live in Oklahoma, are a Sooners fan/alum or just really dig news about the Big XII, check out the following from The Norman Transcript:
Phi Alpha Theta, Zeta Theta chapter, will organize a campus textbook drive to benefit Worldfund, a nonprofit organization seeking to transform lives in Latin America through high quality education, between Monday and Jan. 9. The group will collect all textbooks and other college level texts published between 2001 and 2007.
An assessment by the U.S Agency for International Development reports that children in Latin America attend school an average of 5.4 years, stating that “the inferior quality of education impedes the ability of Latin America to move forward economically.”
Organizers of the Worldfund book drive will collect used college-level books in green-and-white “Book Drive” collection bins on the OU campus at Dale Hall, Dale Hall Tower, Ellison Hall, Gould Hall and the Fine Arts Building.
Thanking the University of Oklahoma community for its support, Worldfund Founder Luanne Zurlo said, “By donating your books to benefit Worldfund, you will help individuals gain the education they need to lift themselves out of poverty.”
In July 2006, Worldfund retained Better World Books as its premier agent to collect books on its behalf. Books collected for Worldfund will be sold online to generate a sustainable stream of unrestricted funding for the organization. Nationwide book drives since fall 2006 have raised $15,000 for Worldfund’s programs. For more information, visit Worldfund.
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, book drive, campus, Oklahoma, Oklahoma University, press
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