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Creating a world of lifelong learners: Room to Read updates from across the globe

December 30, 2022

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As 2022 comes to a close, we are excited to share some of the initiatives our global team has worked on this past quarter. Read on to learn more!


Bangladesh: International Day of the Girl celebrations 

Room to Read Bangladesh celebrated International Day of the Girl with a series of thought leadership events across four regions. This year’s theme was “Our time is now — our rights, our future.” Girls, parents and teachers gathered to celebrate milestones in girls’ education and advocate for gender equality. The events featured speakers like Keya, a Girls’ Education Program student whose story is featured in Room to Read’s new book titled “She Creates Change, as well as key policymakers like Bangladesh Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni.


Cambodia: Bringing a love of reading to the ninth annual Cambodia Book Fair 

For the ninth time, Room to Read Cambodia co-hosted the Cambodia Book Fair at the national library in Phnom Penh this December, an event that drew an audience of roughly 109,500 visitors! Room to Read Literacy Program staff led reading activities on stage, including a shared reading activity and a read aloud, and distributed books to children and parents. Room to Read’s digital library, Literacy Cloud, was also featured, and parents and caregivers were shown how to access a wide variety of digital books to enjoy with their children.

India: Improving school safety for girls 

Room to Read India recently led a 15-day campaign in support of our Girls’ Education Program, which launched on November 7 during a national seminar on life skills education. Throughout the campaign, 179,038 adolescent girls and 40,669 parents and teachers, community leaders and government officials across nine states committed to strengthening schools as empowering spaces for girls. Led by Girls’ Education Program participants, the campaign focused on the myriad challenges adolescent girls face in completing their educations. To make schools safer and more welcoming for girls, Girls’ Education Program students conducted safety assessments of 107 schools, documenting structural barriers and access issues. The campaign also advocated for the implementation of national laws and policies to support child protection in educational settings, with an emphasis on the importance of creating spaces for girls to flourish.


Laos: Life skills camp for Girls’ Education Program participants 

More than 300 Girls’ Education Program participants and teachers attended the 2022 end-of-year life skills camp organized by Room to Read Laos, hosted at four different schools. Life skills lessons were incorporated into five interactive games that presented real-life scenarios for the girls to navigate as a group, helping to deepen the girls’ understanding of life skills while emphasizing teamwork, critical thinking and self-confidence. As the students worked together, they drew on their knowledge of prior life skill lessons and supported each other as they strategized solutions to each unique challenge. Many students shared that the life skills camp was an incredible and unforgettable experience.  

Nepal: Radio drama for gender equality 

This December, more than 60 radio stations in Nepal partnered with Room to Read to pilot two episodes of an on-air drama called “Road to Equality.” Radio remains one of the most accessible communication channels for communities across Nepal, allowing households across the country to access important messages about gender norms and equality, gender-specific discrimination in the classroom and the critical role of girls’ education. 

Listen to episode one in Nepali here:

Sri Lanka: Strengthening our partnership with the Ministry of Education 

Recently, Room to Read Sri Lanka signed provincial Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) for 2023 with Sri Lanka’s Ministries of Education, signaling the government’s full support in continuing Room to Read’s programs across government schools. In addition to signing the MOUs, Room to Read invited officials from the Ministry of Education and National Institute of Education to visit our Literacy Program schools to learn more about the results of our work, witness the implementation of our program and connect with program staff and participants. Government officials also participated in Room to Read’s progress review meetings, which provided further insight into our funding allocation and achievements this year.

Tanzania: Championing gender equality for International Day of the Girl 

Room to Read Tanzania celebrated International Day of the Girl by hosting a gender equality forum under this year’s global theme, “Our time is now — our rights, our future.” Seventy participants attended the forum, including government officials, teachers, students, parents, community members, partners and Room to Read staff. 

Speakers emphasized the importance of supporting girls to finish school by addressing gender inequalities that frequently hinder them from completing their education. Room to Read Tanzania’s Country Director, Juvenalius Kuruletera, emphasized the importance of upholding gender equality in education to prevent discrimination. He highlighted that when girls and women have full and equal access to education, they often earn higher incomes and generate more economic activity, which in turn combats the cycle of poverty in both their families and communities.

Vietnam: Exchange workshop for primary school librarians

In December, Room to Read collaborated with the Primary Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Training to host a professional exchange program for primary school librarians in Dong Thap. The program drew librarians from 23 provinces across Vietnam and covered topics like library management and operations, and introductory reading activities for early grade readers. Participating librarians and other educators had the opportunity to share their learnings with peers, collaborate on solutions to common challenges and address ways they could work collectively to build stronger reading habits among young students.