September 04, 2018
Room to Read wouldn’t have reached 12.4 million children without our global community of fundraisers. That’s why we’re spotlighting a Sydney-based team of authors and education advocates leading Australia’s '50 Schools for 50 Girls' fundraising campaign - an effort that could easily be replicated anywhere in the world.
Led by long-term Room to Read supporters, Jennie Orchard and Jodi Mullen, along with Tristan Bancks, a most passionate writer ambassador in Australia, the campaign began in 2012 and has raised funds to support more than 1,400 children. This year’s campaign is part of the World Change Challenge, which was initiated by Tristan and is supported by an equally passionate team of writer ambassadors around the country.
Those involved include Deborah Abela, who created the promotional video for the ‘50 Schools’ campaign (see below). Others who have contributed to the writer ambassador program include Markus Zusak, who spoke at Room to Read’s first ever literary event in Australia; Alice Pung who persuaded her publishers to donate all the proceeds from one of her books to Room to Read; and Susanne Gervay who wrote Room to Read into the plot of one of her children’s novels, Being Jack. And there are many others, contributing in a myriad of ways. The purpose of the writer ambassador program isn’t only to raise funds, but also to spread the word about Room to Read, building interest and trust, creating the next generation of donors.
Eager to reach more children around the world, the team has decided to focus this year’s efforts on the Girls’ Education Program. The network of authors will be rallying support from 50 schools in Australia. The goal? Have each school fund (at least) one girl to complete a year of schooling by raising a minimum of $365.
“Many young Australians take it for granted that everyone gets the chance to go to school – but of course this isn’t the case and the consequences for those who don’t get these opportunities are profound. It’s important for Australian school students to understand how easy – and relatively inexpensive – it is to make significant and long-term changes to the lives of some of those less privileged than themselves,” says Orchard.
Want to get your school involved? Here’s your chance to make an impact! Whether you're a parent, teacher, or student you can plan a simple activity any day of the year. With International Literacy Day in September, Mullen recommends using the holiday to organize a book swap and ask for a small donation when students participate.
Imagine if everyone in your school gave just two dollars, you could support maybe one, two or even three girls for a year. If you want to get your family involved, Mullen suggests you could plan a technology-free day and donate a set amount for every hour that you are able to live without screens. The options are endless and they don't need to end just in Australia. The 50 Schools for 50 Girls campaign aims to inspire students and parents all around the globe to rally their communities and replicate the fundraising effort.
“There are many ways in which to better the world and everyone has to find their own meaningful path – but it is satisfying to work as part of a local and a global team, and to know that one is contributing to an organization which is sustainable and enormously effective,” says Orchard.