2021 Annual Report

What Does Education Equal for You?

Remember the feeling of accomplishment when you sounded out words as a child? Or drifting off to sleep to a bedtime story that let you explore faraway places from the comfort and safety of your home? Or the first book that helped you see the world in a new light?

If so, then you know that education equals confidence, curiosity, empathy and community. Education is a great equalizer, putting dreams within reach for those born into the most difficult circumstances.

Room to Read is changing that reality by helping children become lifelong learners who choose their own futures.

In a world where many challenges have yet to be solved — from the climate crisis to the global pandemic to growing economic divides — education can lead to greater understanding, bigger breakthroughs and a more just society.

On an individual level, education equals opportunity, growth and endless possibilities. Education also equals joy, which we see every day when children read books that validate their experiences and provide windows to new worlds.

As you look through these pages, we invite you to consider what education means for you. Chances are that the opportunity to learn has had a profound effect on your life choices. By supporting Room to Read, you open up similar possibilities for children around the world.

Intro Cont. - Copy with Callout

Girl standing outside with book and text that reads "Education = Results"

Two girls outside holding bag together with text "Education = Change"

Students at table doing homework with text "Education = Learning"

Students sitting in a circle with book and text "Education = Community"

Invest in Education

A donation to Room to Read helps us to transform the lives of millions of children across the world through education.


Dear Room to Read Family,

Education means so many things to each of us. For my mother, education was the freedom to avoid an early marriage, train as a nurse and launch a medical career. For my son and daughter, education is a chance to become informed and shape their futures. For Dewmini, a Girls’ Education Program participant in Sri Lanka, education has provided the knowledge and tools to grow an award-winning garden and supply food for her family during one of the most difficult crises in her nation’s history.

For Dewmini and many other young people, education also equals endurance — the ability to persevere through the numerous obstacles that a world in crisis presents. As young women face increasing pressure to drop out of school and marry early due to the financial repercussions of the global pandemic, I’m proud to share that 95 percent of girls enrolled in our Girls’ Education Program returned to the classroom once schools started to reopen in 2021. This is due to our network of social mobilizers, who provided more than 550,000 remote mentoring sessions to girls throughout the year. There are so many extraordinary stories behind these data, and you’ll find a few in the pages that follow.


Letter - Copy with Callout


At Room to Read, we know that literacy is the foundation for all future learning.

Our literacy work supports children to become independent readers and lifelong learners. Through our Literacy Program, we train and coach teachers and librarians, create quality storybooks and other educational materials and establish libraries filled with children’s books in local languages. We partner with local communities, governments and publishing industries to test and implement innovative models that help children succeed in school and develop a love of reading. And we integrate our literacy practices into public education systems to achieve literacy outcomes at scale.


Creating space devoted to learning: Meet Pratik from Nepal

A long, broad desk sits on the front porch of Pratik's family's house. Colorful books hang in orderly rows on the wall above the desk, just an arm’s reach away. Pratik's notebooks and worksheets are stacked neatly below them, next to a radio — through which he listens to Room to Read literacy programming.

This is Pratik's home library, a space devoted to learning and imagination, a space of comfort and curiosity where Pratik, a Grade 9 student from Nepal, can focus on his studies outside of the classroom.

Boy and mother sitting at table outside with a big stack of books and books hanging on the wall

Get Involved

At Room to Read, education equals action, innovation, collaboration and so much more. Learn more about how we are creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality through education.