Let’s not have a short-fall

Well, we only made two thirds of the Southern Upland Way, but please don’t let this hold you back in donating to the kids’ literacy charities we are supporting through our hike – Room to Read and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Dig deep folks – think of it as a show of support for Andi – and a great outcome from our trip if we can raise a big donation for both organisations. Every little bit helps, so please click here to donate.

Hiking was, in fact, central to the formation of Room to Read – this guest post from Mihiri Udabage of Room to Read Australia outlines how our funds will go towards post-earthquake education in Nepal – and any funds given before 30 June will be matched by a sponsor. Please read on. (Photos courtesy of Room to Read)

Room to Read Nepal 1 Room to Read Nepal 2 Room to Read Nepal 3 Room to Read Nepal 4Room to Read started its work in Nepal in 1998 after Microsoft executive, John Wood, met a Nepalese education officer who invited him to visit a school high in the hills while he was on a hike. Taking a tour of the small school, John was confronted with the harsh reality of education in rural Nepal: a dilapidated schoolroom with little more than backpacker castoffs as reading material. Sensing his visitor’s dismay, the headmaster spoke the nine words that would forever change John’s life: “Perhaps, Sir, you will someday come back with books.”

John started his mission with an email to friends. With the subject line ‘Books for Nepal – Please Help’ he commenced a book drive that would be the catalyst for his return to Nepal the following year, with his 72-year-old father and a train of eight donkeys bearing 37 boxes of books. What started as one man’s efforts to provide much needed books to a single rural community is now Room to Read, a global organisation transforming the lives of millions of children in ten countries in the developing world, by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Since then Room to Read has:

  • constructed 1930 schools
  • established 17,534 new libraries in schools and communities
  • published 1,158 original picture books
  • distributed 15,641, 734 books distributed
  • given long term scholarships to 31, 636 girls

While the organisation now has operations in ten countries, Nepal remains close to its heart.  In partnership with District Education Offices, Room to Read is donating books to over 4800 schools in 14 earthquake affected districts. The original book titles, published by Room to Read, will be used to set up Temporary Learning Centres. Room to Read Library Management Facilitators and Literacy Coaches will be conducting counselling classes and reading activities in earthquake affected schools to support the students to deal with the trauma of their ordeal and help them return to school.

When Room to Read Writer Ambassadors learnt of the devastation affecting the region, they rallied, dedicating the 2015 World Change Challenge to the children of Nepal. A goal of $40,000 will see 40,000 books distributed in Nepal, in support of Room to Read’s Literacy Program—a three-pronged approach to improve literacy by investing in teacher training, producing quality early reading materials and providing safe and productive learning environments.

Your support of the Writer Ambassador World Change Challenge 2015 will help Room to Read get the children of Nepal back to school and back to education. Thanks to Nuix, all donations from Australia until 30th June will be matched dollar for dollar. We stand by that promise made fifteen years ago to return with books. We cannot afford to let the fury of the earthquakes bury the hopes and dreams of Nepal’s children.

Mihiri Udabage

Room to Read Australia

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About Jesse Blackadder

Living at the easternmost tip of Australia on the caldera of an extinct volcano, Jesse Blackadder is a novelist, freelance writer and Doctor of Creative Arts. She is fascinated by landscapes, adventurous women and very cold places and has published three adult novels and three novels for children.
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