Dear Friends, 

Room to Read has always acted with urgency to help educate the world’s children. Now, in the wake of learning loss resulting from COVID-19, that urgency is amplified as the number of children who lack basic literacy skills surges: The percentage of 10-year-olds in low to middle-income countries who cannot read and comprehend a simple story has escalated from 57 percent pre-pandemic to 70 percent, according to recent reports. 

In other words, 7 in 10 children in low to middle-income communities lack the foundational skills that enable all future learning. 

That is unacceptable, and we must take collective action now to help children learn to read and write, and to support girls in acquiring the skills they need to stay in school. 

There is no organization better equipped to provide this support than Room to Read. That was recently underscored when Room to Read ranked #1 for impact and scalability out of more than 3,400 education organizations evaluated by HundrED, a global organization specializing in education innovation.  

I have seen Room to Read in action many times over the years and can personally attest to the effectiveness of its programs and the quality of its leadership. Room to Read focuses some of the most talented and passionate business minds on its mission to create a world free of illiteracy and gender inequality through education. Now, many governments are adopting the organization’s practices, creating change at scale.  

I have had many professional successes in my lifetime, but there’s nothing as meaningful as helping to equip today’s children with the skills they need to transcend difficult circumstances and build better futures for themselves and their families. 

As global board chair of Room to Read, I urge you to join this movement by investing in Room to Read.  The world is facing many challenges; educating the next generation of changemakers is the most direct route to solving these problems and creating a more safe, stable and peaceful environment for everyone. Together, we can create the positive change that is essential for the next generation and this world to thrive.  

Sincerely Yours, 

Yusuf Alireza, Room to Read Global Board Chair