Room to Read

Room to Read

Room to Read is a non-profit charitable organization founded by former Microsoft employee John Wood based in San Francisco. It is dedicated to building education infrastructure in developing countries to end the cycle of poverty. Their unique "adopt a project" form of donating, in which you are told how much money is needed to build a school/library/computer lab or award a scholarship and therefore know exactly what your money goes to, has met with considerable success. They have operations in many South and Southeast Asian countries, including Nepal, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Sri Lanka. They have expanded into Africa, with South Africa being their first country in that region, they have recently began operating in Zambia as well.


In 1998, John Wood went on a trekking vacation from his job at Microsoft Australia in mountainous Nepal. There, he met an "Education Resource Officer" named Pasupathi who offered to show him one of the schools he managed. When they reached the school, Wood found what he saw as a depressingly small and inappropriate library: "Finnegan's Wake", a romance novel, a travel guide for Mongolia, and little else. They were so precious that they were kept under lock and key for fear that the children might damage them. Pasupathi said to him, "Perhaps, Sir, you will someday come back with books." After returning from the trek, Wood managed to collect over 3,000 books from friends, acquaintances, and donors. He then returned with six donkeys and delivered the books. In 2000, after a rough transition out of Microsoft, he founded Room to Read and is operating it to this day.

External links

* [ Room to Read official web site]
* [ "ascent magazine" profile of Wood and Room to Read]

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