Frequent Questions - General

What does Room to Read do?

We collaborate with local communities, partner organizations and governments to ensure that primary school children can become independent readers and girls can complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions. We set measurable goals and are committed to collecting action-oriented data to ensure our programs are run with quality and impact, while maximizing cost efficiencies.

Our Literacy Program transforms primary schools into a child-friendly learning environment that enables children to develop the skills and habit of reading throughout primary school and become life-long, independent readers. Our school intervention includes ensuring the facility has a structured library with books in the children’s local language, as well as teachers and librarians who are trained in the best practices of reading and writing instruction. Key to our program is ensuring that families, communities and governments are all engaged in the transformation of the school and committed to its success.

Our Girls’ Education Program ensures that girls complete secondary school and have the skills to negotiate key life decisions. Our program reinforces girls’ commitment to their own education, works with girls to develop essential life skills and increases support for girls’ education among their parents, school staff, and communities. Key to our program are our Social Mobilizers, local women who are hired as mentors and work with girls and their families to ensure that girls stay in school, participate in activities, and navigate the challenges of adolescence with the ability to make their own life choices, both personally and professionally.

Learn more about our programs.

Where can I learn more about Room to Read?

Our website is the most comprehensive source of information about Room to Read. It contains descriptions of our programsaudited financial statements and our most recent annual reports.

If you prefer to receive information about Room to Read via traditional mail, please email

When and where did Room to Read start?

In 1998, then-Microsoft Executive John Wood went on a trip to Nepal that would not only change his life, but also lay the foundation for Room to Read. After a chance encounter led John to witness the crushing poverty and lack of education resources at a school high in the Himalayas, he returned home with a mission: to collect enough books to start a library for that one school. John’s first book drive led to many more, and after a short while, he left his career at Microsoft to found a charity called Books for Nepal.

Later, John met Erin Ganju, Room to Read’s current CEO, who helped him expand his project into Vietnam—launching the first international expansion of the organization now known as Room to Read.

Room to Read became an official 501c3 organization in 2000, and has since grown its program operations to ten countries across two continents. You can read more about our history on our website or in John Wood’s memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

Is Room to Read affiliated with a religious or government organization?

Room to Read is a non-governmental organization and is completely non-denominational.

Why should I support this organization when there are people in need in my own country?

We do not see educational investment as an either/or proposition. Certainly every country could benefit from improvements in education, but in the communities where we work, a relatively small investment can have major impact in the lives of hundreds (or thousands) of children.

We believe that every child deserves a quality education, no matter the situation they were born into, but the truth is that in many parts of Asia and Africa—especially in rural communities—many children are still denied that basic human right. 

How do I stay updated on the work Room to Read is doing?

A lot happens at Room to Read, so to make sure you are getting all the latest results numbers, expansion updates and event information, be sure to sign up for our quarterly email newsletter. We also post regularly to the official Room to Read Twitter feed, Facebook page, Blog, YouTube Channel and Medium page, so no matter where you live, you can always stay in touch.

How can my school partner with you to help promote your work?

We have a fantastic Students Helping Students (SHS) initiative, designed to foster global awareness and social entrepreneurship in the hearts and minds of students around the world. We formalized this initiative in 2006 after the amazing efforts of over 200 schools that proactively raised over US$400,000 for our expansion into Sri Lanka.

Since then, schools have formed Room to Read clubs, held read-a-thons, held bake sales and much more to raise money for our work. Our Students Helping Students website and Student Facebook page contain a wealth of information for students, parents and teachers, including creative ways to get involved, updated results, and lesson plans on social entrepreneurship and cultural awareness.

For more information, email

How can I get my company involved?

There are many ways your company can support our work. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Get your employer to match your donation.
  • If your company has a corporate foundation, make an introduction.
  • Hold a used book drive for Room to Read through our partner, Better World Books, who will sell your used books and donate all the proceeds to Room to Read.
  • Hold a company fundraiser for our projects. By combining efforts, you and your colleagues can have a major impact on the communities where we work.

Have another idea? Let us know by sending an email to or learn more on our partners page.


Imagine a world where every child receives a quality education. 

Now, make it a reality.

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Literacy Program Schools 18,699
Books Checked Out per Student


Books Published 1,290
Books Distributed 18 Million
Girls' Education Participants


Children Benefited 10.7 million

results updated annually

2014 Annual Report

Solving the Puzzle
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