Room to Read

Education changes the worldThere are many good causes fighting for attention to raise money in an attempt to independently address issues under resourced or simply ignored by governments around the world.

Global poverty is one such issue that strikes a nerve with me personally, I struggle to understand how we continue to live in a world with such a large divide between rich and poor when we have the resources at our disposal to redress the balance – It is simply a issue of motivation, or lack of it.

It is widely accepted that providing education is the most effective way to start a positive cycle of change, specifically, educating girls can have the furthest reaching affect. Educated girls, gain access to jobs, have smaller families and pass on the gift of education to their own children.

Educated children are empowered children and mobilising children through education is the best way to fight global poverty.

Over 60 million primary school children worldwide do not have access to education and as a result will probably never learn to read or write.   The benefits of educating children are far reaching and diverse.

I have a voracious appetite for learning and spend most of my relaxation time reading books, many of those books have directly influenced the type of person I have become, and the paths I have taken throughout my life.  I simply can not imagine how my life would have turn out had I not learnt to read and more importantly developed a habit for reading.

Room to Read is driven by the belief that all children should have access to quality education that enables them to achieve their full potential in life.

To achieve this goal they have identified two key areas they believe offer the opportunity to make the greatest impact; literacy and gender equality in education.

Working in conjunction with local communities and governments across Asia and Africa they; promote literacy skills and a habit of reading in primary school children, and support girls through secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to flourish in school and beyond.

There are many reasons I choose to support Room to Read, which include;

  • A fantastic management team with a track record of transparency and accountability, recognised by receiving seven consecutive Charity Navigator four star ratings, the highest rating for the best charities;
  • Clear, tangible goals, continually reporting their progress towards achieving them with the actual number of schools and libraries opened, books published and children benefiting from their activity;
  • All projects engage the local community and are only funded when sufficient support has been provided by the local government and native people to deliver the project outcomes. Everyone has a stake in the success of every project.

In addition, Room to Read offer the opportunity for fundraisers to ‘Adopt a Project’ allowing you to choose exactly where and how the money is used, this really appeals to me because most charitable giving is done without this level of knowledge and accountability.

Since raising money for Room to Read during August and September, 2012 I have been determined to adopt a project of my own, specifically, I want to help build a new school or school library.

Due to the nature and duration of my world cycle, Room to Read are not able to allocate a specific project until near the end of my journey or until I have raised enough money. However they have confirmed that at present Africa presents their greatest challenge and has the highest demand for funding to construct libraries in Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia.

The cost to construct a library in Africa is currently £26,000 and this forms my fundraising goal for the journey. This is a considerable amount of money and I hope that if you have read this far you will take the extra step and make a donation today on my Virgin Giving page:

Please leave your email address details when you make a donation, when the fundraising target is reached I would like to offer everyone that has donated the opportunity to vote on how and where the money is invested.

You can find out more about the UK funding opportunities in the following PDF: UK Funding Opportunities

You can find out more about the school libraries projects here: School Libraries

You can find out more about Investing in Africa in the following PDF: Invest in Africa

To find out more about Room to Read you can visit their website here: Room to Read


My thoughts on raising money have evolved since setting the original goal to build a school for Room to Read. Indeed much of what I set out to achieve has evolved and I hope will continue to do so. My changing views are indicative that the journey is informing my thoughts and beliefs in ways that perhaps only long term travel can. So much of who we are and what we believe is influenced by our surroundings that only when you remove everything familiar does a different picture of the world emerge.

We raised around £5000 towards the £26,000 target required to build a school, however, it now seems somewhat egotistical to hold the money hostage until an undetermined time in the future. I decided it was more sensible to release the money to Room to Read so they can put it to work today to bring education to kids who need it now.

A massive thank you to everyone who very generously donated and to those who took it upon themselves to raise additional money on my behalf.

The Virgin Money Giving page is still active for people who want to show their support and help Room to Read with their very worthy mission.

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