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As COVID-19 Education Crisis Persists, Room to Read Delivers More Than 34 Million Direct Messages to Teachers and Students in Low-Income Communities

December 14, 2021

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As COVID-19 Education Crisis Persists, Room to Read Delivers More Than 34 Million Direct Messages to Teachers and Students in Low-Income Communities

SAN FRANCISCO – December 14, 2021 – Room to Read, the global education organization focused on children’s literacy and girls’ education, today released data illustrating its ongoing response to continued learning disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021, the organization delivered more than 14 million direct messages and conducted more than 141,000 individual remote mentoring sessions with the aim of keeping children and adolescent girls in low-income countries learning. 

Since March 2020, Room to Read has used a wide range of digital tools to facilitate connectivity and learning for teachers, students and their families. In the first half of 2021, it reached over 220,000 individuals through calls, emails and direct messages on SMS and social media to ensure parents and children remain engaged in improving literacy skills and the habit of reading. In remote areas without access to technology, Room to Read has delivered hard copy books and learning materials to nearly 200,000 children and adolescent girls.  

"We are deeply committed to supporting teachers, students and parents with the knowledge and skills to keep children learning, whether they’re in the classroom or still at home,” said Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO of Room to Read. "As we pair online connectivity with human connectivity and deliver learning materials through all channels available, we help children in a range of environments rise above their current challenges and remain optimistic about their futures.” 

Since March 2020 throughout Africa and Asia, Room to Read has: 

  • Delivered over 34 million direct messages to support parents and teachers with learning instruction (14 million between January 1 to June 30, 2021) 
  • Broadcast more than 1,800 unique learning programs via radio to children and adolescent girls (500 programs between January 1 to June 30, 2021) 
  • Reached over 786,000 children and adolescent girls with hard copy books and worksheets (194,000 children between January 1 to June 30, 2021) 
  • Broadcast more than 740 unique learning programs via television to children and adolescent girls (325 programs between January 1 to June 30, 2021)  
  • Posted 2,700 learning resource materials on social media platforms (1,300 files between January 1 to June 30, 2021)  
  • Spent over 48,000 hours providing virtual training and support to teachers, school leaders, authors and illustrators (22,000 hours between January 1 to June 30, 2021) 
  • Reached nearly 37,000 girls with 407,000 individual mentoring sessions (25,000 girls and 141,000 sessions between January 1 to June 30, 2021) 

While pandemic restrictions lift across the world, many public schools in Asia and Africa have not reopened since COVID-19 hit, leaving children without formal education support for more than 20 months. Room to Read continues its partnership with government and private sector partners to pair applicable technology solutions with human connection, engaging and training individuals from the local community to work with parents so that children have education instruction and support.  

In Madhya Pradesh, India, eight-year-old Kirma went nearly 18 months without entering the classroom. Although schools in her region recently reopened, attendance is regulated so that classes are only half full. Over the course of the pandemic, and with additional disruptions anticipated in the future, Kirma has relied on WhatsApp messages and book deliveries from her teacher for learning resources, provided to government schoolteachers by Room to Read India and its local partners.  

“We don’t know much about how to teach, but we get calls from [Kirma’s] teacher and Room to Read India,” said Dayaram and Firki, Kirma’s parents. “They motivate us and provide study materials Kirma.” 


About Room to Read 

Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read is creating a world free from illiteracy and gender inequality. We are achieving this goal by helping children in low-income communities develop literacy skills and a habit of reading, and by supporting girls to build skills to succeed in school and negotiate key life decisions. We collaborate with governments and other partner organizations to deliver positive outcomes for children at scale. Room to Read has benefitted more than 23 million children across 20 countries and over 48,000 communities and aims to reach 40 million children by 2025. Learn more at 

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Jacqueline Pezzillo   

Room to Read   

+1 (415) 839-4401