I have gone through life feeling quite lucky and blessed to have a supportive family who always indulged my love of beauty, language, Shakespearean Theater, and the crazy idea of one day moving from California to Europe.
When I realized this is not the norm around the world, it seemed only fair to give other young girls and boys the ability to reach for their dreams, find pleasure in a story of a far off kingdom, read a book about science, or learn about other parts of the world.
Room to Read was brought to my attention this past summer by a friend of mine, and fit all my criteria for a charity that I could completely stand behind. The story goes, that one of Room to Read`s co-founders and ex Microsoft Executive John Wood had gone on vacation to Nepal. While taking a tour of a small school the headmaster boasted of the school`s “Library". This library was behind a locked closet door and consisted of one lonely Planet Traveler`s guide to Mongolia and James Joyce`s Finnegan`s Wake.
After seeing this John Wood proceeded to collect 3,000 books—all donated through friends and family and returned to the school a year later. Since then, Room to Read has opened over 18,000 libraries, filling them with 16 million books!
In addition, there are over 37,000 girls who have received mentoring while participating in Room to Read's, “Girls Education Program". I became particularly interested in the Girls’ Education Program and its aim to put girls through secondary school in the communities where old traditions require an early marriage or family circumstances are such that none of us would wish upon anyone.
The beautiful concept behind Room to Read is that it is a community undertaking to support gender equality and literacy skills in their villages and towns. The program hires local teachers, paid by the country's government, and mentors to aid the girls in their progress. The community contributes 50% of the work towards the building of libraries and schools in any way they can. Local artists, authors, and printers are used to create over 1,200 local-language children's books and educational material for the students use.
I find that through Room to Read I am able to make at least a small impact in creating a better world for younger generations to come, and to give girls as well as boys the opportunity to reach for their dreams!
I have decided to support the Girls’ Education Program in my own way, and made a goal of raising 300 CHF by the end of the year, which is enough to put one girl through school for the whole year. Every time a customer buys two or more products at my salon, I donate 10% profit to the Girls’ Education Program. Also, I have put up a piggybank at the cashier, where people can donate directly to this cause.
For more information or to make a donation to Room to Read, please visit www.roomtoread.org