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How our Family History Led us to Monthly Giving

Geetha Murali, Chief Communications and Development Officer, Room to Read | September 05, 2017


News Copy with Callout Sign up for monthly giving

I was so pleased to be asked about the value of monthly giving, because it’s a subject that’s incredibly close to my heart. To put it simply, standing up for a child’s right to learn runs in my blood. Giving monthly helps Room to Read plan ahead with reliable funding and cements my family’s commitment to supporting the same quality education we benefited from.

Raised in India, my mother grew up in a home where only the eldest son was supported beyond secondary school. One of seven siblings, she was an incredibly smart and driven girl who graduated secondary school at just thirteen-years-old. Like so many daughters in our Girls’ Education Program, my grandparents pressured her to immediately marry, but she had bigger dreams.

Despite her environment, she had an unwavering desire to learn. This drive led her into the Indian army, where she trained to become a nurse, and later put herself through school to earn a doctorate and become a statistician.

My mother’s story has always moved me, but what I find most inspirational is the ripple effect that followed. By carving out her own career, she was able to support her siblings through university and motivated me throughout my own education.

My family history has taught me that change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term investment that improves with each generation. For our family, it began with one thirteen-year-old’s commitment to learn and continued with every family member who followed. That’s why I became a monthly giver. Because these predictable donations support Room to Read’s ability to fund more projects and plan long-term. By focusing not just on the children of today, but the generations of tomorrow, we are fueling lasting change for families across the globe.

Both my son and daughter also understand Room to Read’s impact. They know the vast majority of kids around the world don’t have shelves full of storybooks, nonetheless a local library. My son first realized this while visiting a primary school in South Africa, where a class of first graders shared their leftover food with children who had lost one or both parents to HIV and AIDS.  

I saw the stunned look on his face as he learned the dire situations so many children come to know as normal. In this moment, he realized that many of these children can’t afford books, and so that single period of library time became their sole opportunity to sit and soak up a story.

Later that day, I watched him run across the playground with boys and girls his own age. As they all smiled and laughed, darting about while playing Cricket, I saw how, regardless of where they’re born, all children have the same needs – to learn, play and feel loved.

Each month I give to Room to Read, I remember the only difference between my son and those he played alongside is the opportunity they were born into.

By creating access to higher education, my mother wove opportunity through the spine of our family. Becoming a monthly donor is our family’s way of giving another child the same chance. It’s our way of ensuring that next little girl becomes her family’s start towards multi-generational change.



Geetha Murali
Chief of Development & Communications