John Wood recently joined Room to Read Sri Lanka Country Director, Glenfrey De Mel, at meetings with Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake (pictured on right), opposition leader (and former PM) Ranil Wickremasinghe, Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha, and other officials to discuss Room to Read's nonpartisan pledge to helping the nearly 60,000 displaced children living in the government "welfare villages" in northern and eastern Sri Lanka as a result of the recently-ended civil war.
The children in the camps have minimal access to educational facilities to continue their education, which is why Room to Read has joined humanitarian efforts to respond swiftly to their needs. We are working closely with UNICEF on an initiative to establish pre-schools and provide teacher training for education facilitators; provide 50 mobile libraries to 200 temporary learning centers within the camps; and distribute 100,000 Tamil, Sinhala and English-language children's books. Already Room to Read is moving quickly, as 50,000 Tamil-language children's books published through our local language program have begun arriving at 525 schools in the north and east.
"We now have an added responsibility as a nation and also as a non-profit
organization to provide educational opportunities for the children battered by
the war," said Glenfrey during an interview with the national daily newspaper
Sunday Observer. "Education is the only gateway to leading a successful
This is only the most recent of Room to Read's efforts to support the
education of children in Sri Lanka, where we have operated since the devastating
2004 tsunami. To date, Room to Read has established over 650 libraries and over
200 schools; distributed over 600,000 Sinhala, Tamil and English-language books;
and helped 1,200 girls enroll and stay in school across Sri Lanka.
>> Learn more about our programs in Sri Lanka
Local Language Publishing Program Wins Award and a Royal Recognition
On May 28 during a ceremony in Vientiane, Laos, the Ministry of Information and Culture selected two of Room to Read's Local Language Program titles as winners of the 2009 Laos Book Excellence Award. This marks the second year in a row that the Room to Read Laos LLP team has received the honor. The winning stories - Nang-Oy's Dream and Many Bags - were published by Room to Read and selected from 678 adult and children's books published throughout Laos last year.
Nang-Oy's Dream is a story about a young girl, Nang-Oy, who is
unable to go to school because her parents expect her to take care of her baby
brother, do household chores, and care for the animals. In the end, Nang-Oy's
parents agree to share household chores so their daughter can receive the
education they never had. Nang-Oy's Dream is the third book written and
illustrated by Mr. Vongsavan Damlongsook for Room to Read Laos.
The environmentally-themed Many Bags, written by Mr. Rangsit
Thanasook, was the winning entry in a writing competition sponsored by Room to
Read Laos last year. Mr. Rangsit has written a number of articles advocating the
promotion of the local Lao language; Many Bags is his second children's
Room to Read's LLP team in Nepal also recently received a special honor of
their own. Thanks to the efforts of a Room to Read supporter with royal
connections, our team in Nepal received a personal thank you note from
Buckingham Palace on behalf Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of England and her
husband Prince Philip. The royal couple was delighted to receive copies of Room
to Read's Tommy Tempo book series in honor of Her Majesty's 83rd birthday and
pleasantly surprised our team with a thoughtful
note of gratitude from her Lady-in-Waiting.
>> Learn more about our Local Language Publishing
Chapters are comprised of individuals who have made a long-term
volunteer commitment to promoting Room to Read within their
communities, and we depend on their network to achieve our goals.
Learn more about our chapter network here. Join us for events scheduled in:
>> Calgary - September 26
>> San Francisco - October 15
>> Boston - November 5
>> Click here for more details about upcoming local events.
Media Alert: John Wood in Conversation with Bill Gates, Sr.
On August 7 at 8pm PST, John's June 17 interview with Bill Gates, Sr.
at the Commonwealth Club will air on KQED 88.5FM and other national
Every day that a child does not have the ability to read a book is an opportunity lost. The
success of the Room to Dream campaign means that by 2010 more than
11,000 communities will have their first library and close to 9 million
books will be available to children throughout the developing world. Please help us reach this goal and support the Room to Dream campaign today.