Posted by admin on 03.27.2008 at 10:45 am
Niko [Tomlinson, Midwest Senior Director] and I got to meet up with Dustin [Holland, Head of Acquisitions] and LPTZ (the Library Division) yesterday to see John Wood speak here in Minneapolis. It was really awesome. John Wood is a FUNNY guy, and handsome as heck, and he started Room to Read – very cool cat. Very sincere cat. He really believes in the mission of RTR. He was discussing the ultimate dreams of the organization and said that anywhere there is illiteracy is where Room to Read eventually wants to be. They are planning to expand farther into Africa this year and eventually, who knows, perhaps the whole globe will have RTR schools and libraries available.
Anyhoo, he gave a bunch of new RTR numbers that I thought I’d pass on. I think a lot of this is available through their website, but why fish in a lake when you can aim in a barrel?* Exactly.
-110,000,000 kids aged 4-10 are not enrolled in school. (interesting point, if you lined all of these kids up and spaced them 1ft apart, they would stretch from Mpls, eastward across the Atlantic, across Europe, across Asia, across the Pacific, and all the way to California.
-800,000,000 people worldwide cannot read or write (that is ~1/7 of the population of the earth!)
-2/3 of both of the above categories are women (ouch, this sexist planet – John Wood, btw, is not sexist, he had a 2 minute rage on about the educational oppression of women and that so many women and men who live in a far more egalitarian society take it all for granted … I <3 him)
-In Cambodia, the ratio of boys to girls enrolled in secondary school is 3:1
When the 2005 tsunami hit Sri Lanka, Room To Read had no team set up in the country. The tsunami destroyed 250 schools in Sri Lanka alone. John Wood and the RTR board had an emergency meeting, hired a team ASAP and within one year had rebuilt 39 new schools. Awesome. Within two years, the number had shot to 89 since the tsunami.
So, RTR has a 12% overhead. They keep their overhead so low by setting up fundraising posts all over the globe. Volunteers in cities throughout the US, Europe and parts of Asia are constantly fundraising through word-of-mouth initiatives. I believe he said that this accounts for 1/3 of the funding that Room To Read receives. Neat!
-5,000 libraries built (in 2007, they opened 1,600 libraries!)
-444 schools built (and they’re planning to construct 250 more in 2008!)
-250 original children’s book titles published (To write these books, they find authors, illustrators, and editors in the country. The first books were for Nepal, and when RTR began searching for authors they were told by numerous sources that they most likely wouldn’t find any, as children’s lit had never been present in the culture. Soon after this, though, they found a group, the Nepal Children’s Literacy Initiative … or something like that, and within one month of touching base with this group they received more than 30 children’s books manuscripts! Ha! Now, many of the titles have been written and illustrated by children who attend the RTR schools (cute!))
-As of 2007, 4000 girls were receiving full scholarships to school. In 2008, they want to see this number grow to 7000. (The scholarships, FYI, provide a full ride so long as the girl continues to pass her classes. Each year that she passes, the scholarship is renewed.
And finally, the Dream Big Goals:
20,000 libraries opened.
10,000,000 children helped by RTR programs.
And that’s all of it! I could probably write another 6 pages just on how awesome a speaker and man I think John Wood is. Perhaps a new personal hero.
Have a great day guys!!
*Side note from Aaron King, Director
Abby, funny that you reference shooting fish in a barrel: I watched Mythbusters last night, and they were investigating the origin of the phrase and actually ease of shooting fish in a barrel. Their initial attempts showed that it is actually very difficult to hit a fish swimming in a barrel (they used a fake fish)… but they did some additional research and discovered that you don’t have to hit a fish, but simply firing a gun into a barrel of water creates such a disruption of the water pressure that any fish in the barrel would be killed instantly… that’s what makes shooting fish in a barrel so easy! And don’t worry, they did not use any live fish, they came to all these conclusions through science and data.
Great stuff about Room to Read!
Posted by admin on 03.03.2008 at 9:47 am
Check out this month’s edition of our recurring feature, Worldfund’s Student of the Month. Worldfund is our Latin American non-profit literacy partner and we look to support them in any way we can as they support youths such as:
Seventeen-year-old Bruno was born and raised in Salvador, Bahia, where he lives with his mother, a domestic worker, and his two younger sisters.
Bruno has always liked electronics and is working towards becoming an engineer. When he was 14, he was accepted into the Steve Biko Institute’s three-year, intensive after-school Oguntec Program, which prepares disadvantaged Afro-Brazilian students for the vestibular (university entrance exam). Last year, at age 16, Bruno took his first exam for admission to the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and passed the first phase for Electrical Engineering. Bruno graduated from high school in December 2007 and hopes to begin his university studies in 2008.
Bruno believes that his participation in the Oguntec Program was the best thing that ever happened to him. It was as a student in this program that he learned that the word “quit” is not part of his vocabulary. He also learned that for a young man from a poor neighborhood, completing high school is not enough. He needs to dream of attending university. Bruno’s goals include attending university, establishing a career, and changing the economic situation of his family.
As Bruno states, “Attending university will make me the first, the first child, the first grandson, the first nephew in one generation to believe in the DREAM. Afterwards, I would like to return the Steve Biko Institute and become a professor in the Oguntec Program which I believe should always continue. It was at the Institute that I learned to have a social commitment.”
Have your say » | Tagged Impact, Our Partners, brazil, Impact, Our Partners, partner updates, worldfund
Posted by admin on 02.05.2008 at 10:00 am
Exciting news about the NCFL from the Courier-Journal, in Louisville, KY:
The National Center for Family Literacy, based in Louisville, has named Deborah Hasson director of the Hispanic Learning Institute and co-director of Toyota Programs, which focus on serving Hispanic and other immigrant families. Hasson, the daughter of Argentine immigrants, formerly was an assistant professor and program coordinator at Florida State University.
Related: We talked about the NCFL’s commitment to Hispanic Learning
Have your say » | Tagged Uncategorized, NCFL, Our Partners, partner updates
Posted by admin on 11.21.2007 at 11:07 am
World Change Starts
With Educated Children®
Our partners are always making big news. I can hardly post something on here before something new and exciting comes out about the same group. For example, before we showed you Room to Read at the Clinton Global Initiative, and you would think that would be enough excitement for a while, but alas reader, you would be mistaken. My inbox tells me today that Room to Read is up to more big things. Feel free to check out the full newsletter or my digest below for you busy types.
Room to Read has partnered with GOOD Magazine since 2006 to benefit children in the developing world through GOOD’s unique subscription/donor model. Founded by Ben Goldhirsch in 2004, the magazine seeks to “do good” in the world by contributing 100% of subscription revenue to twelve selected charities. Through this “Choose Good” campaign, subscribers select the charity they would like their donation to go to – this year they have contributed over $52,000 to Room to Read! [emphasis mine]
In addition to donating subscription fees to charities, GOOD hosts a number of events around the country to spread awareness about the Choose Good campaign and their charity partners. These events are always a lot of fun and offer a great opportunity to meet other individuals who are passionate about changing the world. For a list of upcoming GOOD events, please visit: www.goodmagazine.com.
The Literacy Site
Room to Read has been selected as a charity partner of the Literacy Site, which is dedicated to funding free books for children. With a simple daily click of the “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button at The Literacy Site, visitors help provide free books to children in need. Visitors pay nothing. The funding of these books is paid for by advertising site sponsors and accomplished through the site’s charitable partners, Room to Read and First Book.
On average, 70,000 individuals visit the site each day to click the “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button. To date, more than 55 million visitors have helped provide more than a million books to children who need them the most. We hope you will bookmark the site and visit everyday to click and help children in need get free books. Every click counts!
Little notes (still N.B.!):
- Room to Read and John Wood are featured on page 59-60 in Bill Clinton’s book Giving
- John Wood and Erin Ganju, Room to Read’s COO, were invited to a breakfast at the White House with the First Lady Laura Bush
- Room to Read is the featured charity in Neiman Marcus’ 100th Year Anniversary Christmas Book which debuted on October 2
- Literacy One (a product of Scholastic, Boeing and Cathway Pacific) takes flight, carrying 750,000 English language children’s books for libraries in over the next three years.
- Room to Read opens library in Nepal: their 5000th library!!!
Posted by admin on 11.20.2007 at 4:00 pm
Picture of Bruno, Student of the Month from Alagoas, Brazil
Hey all Worldfund supporters, this one goes out to you, a la Luanne Zurlo, Executive Director:
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for your generosity to Worldfund. Since our foundation five years ago, we have invested $3.2 million in the education of some 30,000 children in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.
Your contributions this past year enabled Worldfund to finance our partner schools, teacher training, and gifted youth programs throughout the region. Your donations have helped fund scholarships for over 440 children; repair school buildings in Peru that were damaged in last summer’s earthquake; and train 50 Mexican teachers in English language instruction through our partnership with Nextel, the Rassias Foundation at Dartmouth College, and Fundación Televisa. We have also increased our support to Brazil by adding three new programs: the Reading Circles Program in São Paulo, the Starfish School in Maceió, Alagoas, and the Steve Biko Cultural Institute in Salvador, Bahia.
We sincerely thank you for your support. You have truly made a difference in the lives of underprivileged children and their families in Latin America!
Students in Acapulco, Mexico, sending their thanks.
Have your say » | Tagged Impact, Our Partners, Impact, luanne zurlo, Our Partners, partner updates, worldfund
Posted by admin on 11.01.2007 at 2:00 pm
Here’s the feature story from the most recent FORGE newsletter:
In Meheba Refugee Settlement, it’s hard not to notice Brigitte and Boniface, a married couple in their late 30s. The proud parents of two young children, they have lived in Zambia as refugees for five years. The couple was forced to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 when the school where Boniface taught was attacked by rebel forces. At the time they fled, Brigitte was seven months pregnant with Easter, their oldest daughter, who would be born in prison after they crossed the border. After a few months in separate prisons (their refugee status was difficult to achieve), Brigitte and Boniface reunited in Lusaka, where they lived for a few years as urban refugees before moving to Meheba.
With a degree in biochemistry from the University of Lubumbashi, Boniface speaks eleven languages fluently. He has pursued careers in business and teaching in Zambia’s capital. Despite his talents and qualifications, Boniface has faced numerous barriers to holding stable employment due to the high cost of work permits, and heavy prejudice against refugees. Boniface currently works as the Office Manager for the FORGE Microfinance Institute (FMI) in Meheba. After more than a year of preparation and planning, Boniface recently helped FMI launch a Savings Program to encourage people in Meheba to put their money into savings.
You’ll find Brigitte working at her tailoring business in the center of Meheba’s largest market, spinning out clothing for the community. Not only is Brigitte skilled on the sewing machine, but she has also put herself through an intensive business skills program in Lusaka which required her to walk more than 10 miles a day to and from class. As her business thrives, more educational opportunities become available to the family.
Apart from their children and jobs, Brigitte and Boniface devote their time to a local Pentecostal congregation in Meheba, where Boniface serves as a Pastor. At the moment, the couple does not know if they will repatriate to Congo should it become peaceful, or if they will try their luck applying for resettlement to a new country. In the meantime, they focus on providing a safe home for their two children within the limited confines of Meheba, where they will wait.
Have your say » | Tagged Our Partners, FORGE, Our Partners, partner updates
Posted by admin on 11.01.2007 at 11:14 am
Check out the latest update from the NCFL. Did you know that today, (besides being the Day of the Dead / All Saint’s Day) is National Family Literacy Day?
In honor of National Family Literacy Day on November 1, NCFL is undertaking a variety of activities designed to raise awareness about intergenerational learning among the general public and media. The results will further increase the understanding that literacy is the foundation for success in our families, schools and communities.
Here are just a few ways NCFL is celebrating:
A new, free, parent-friendly magazine called Cultivating Readers: Making Reading Active and Fun is being unveiled. Written by NCFL with funding from Houghton Mifflin, the magazine provides effective and easy strategies for promoting reading throughout a child’s early years. It includes activities for parents of children ages birth to two, three to five, and six to eight, plus tips on selecting age-appropriate books. Visit Cultivating Readers at the NCFL website for more information and to download this great resource, which will help parents nurture a lifelong love of reading in their children.
The company that has served billions and billions is now serving a steady diet of family literacy in Southern California. On November 1, NCFL will partner with 600 Southern California McDonald’s restaurants to bring parents and children together to learn and support each other to improve their reading, writing and thinking skills. Following a book reading, NCFL and McDonald’s will team up to distribute books to each family in attendance and provide parents with tips on ways to improve their family’s literacy skills. In addition, McDonald’s will feature family literacy on its tray liners and bag stuffers.
Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, will announce its support of NCFL and launch a new product, My Word Coach (for the Nintendo Wii and DS systems), in New York City on November 1. A nationwide online contest, the “Great American Word Challenge,” will pit city against city to measure their greatness not by the height of their skyscrapers but by the depth of their vocabularies. The city that gets the highest cumulative average score takes the title and the prize, which includes a Ubisoft donation of Nintendo DS units and My Word Coach games to local NCFL learning centers. Log on to Great American Word Challenge for additional details.
Posted by admin on 10.29.2007 at 8:36 am
The following is the latest update from Luanne Zurlo, Executive Director of the World Education and Development Fund (commonly known as ‘Worldfund’):
picture of Nubia of Acapulco, Mexico, Worldfund Student of the Month (October).
Worldfund is pleased to be an invited participant at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which is currently taking place in New York City, and where I write to you from today! Worldfund is proposing two projects at the CGI, both Mexico-focused: an intensive training program for public school teachers; and, the opening of five top-quality Mano Amiga schools in impoverished border communities.
As Worldfund’s Founder and Executive Director, I was invited by the CGI to participate in these important meetings. President Bill Clinton introduced the CGI in 2005, as a forum for global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Also, we are incredibly grateful to Merrill Lynch for its generous support of Worldfund this fall and since our foundation nearly five years ago. As part of its celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in September and October, Merrill Lynch organized a Better World Books book drive on behalf of Worldfund at numerous offices throughout the country. Thousands of books were collected and boxes are still arriving, so everyone who participated can be sure that their contributions made a difference! Merrill Lynch also launched its Employee Global Giving Campaign earlier this month and chose Worldfund as the recipient of donations targeted to Latin America. We are thrilled to be a part of the company’s first global campaign and hope that employees in Latin America will have the opportunity to see firsthand the transformative impact that our education partners have on children’s lives.
Luanne Zurlo, Executive Director
Posted by admin on 10.16.2007 at 7:41 am
An email and photos from Pat Plonski, at Books for Africa:
Many, many, many of these books are from Better World Books… The university [St. John's University, Dodoma, Tanzania] staff were extremely pleased with the books according to our BFA staff, and indicated great appreciation to the donors. Apparently, the university was running the risk of being closed down by the government due to a lack of a proper library, so these books were critical to education and allowing the university to stay open.
Books For Africa
Posted by admin on 10.11.2007 at 10:02 am
Hey all, just got the latest news from Books for Africa via their Fall Newsletter and it’s very exciting!
First of all, BFA has shipped 17.5 million primary, secondary, post-secondary and library books to 35 (that’s right, 35!) countries since 1988. This year alone they sent 119 containers to 22 different countries from Angola to Kenya to Zimbabwe and more.
In addition, to all of you Books For Africa supporters out there, go to www.betterworld.com/bfa when you want to buy books and click on the BFA logo, this will ensure that the proceeds put towards a literacy partner of any book that you purchase will go to Books for Africa!
Also, Books for Africa’s Donor Appreciation Day will be on Sasturday, November 17th from 3:30 – 6:30 at 715 East Minnehaha Ave, St. Paul, MN 55106. Music, refreshments and light hors d’oeuvres will be provided along with a warehouse open house to “see what all the excitement is about!” Volunteers, donors and friends are all invited!
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