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How Room to Read and MetLife Foundation support girls' education across Asia

August 28, 2020

Skill building Community

The risk to girls’ education around the world has never been as urgent as today. Girls in low-income communities where Room to Read works are facing heightened risk of early marriage and child labor, as well as gender-based violence and even the threat of human trafficking. For girls in these communities, COVID-19 forced school closures are not a pause to their education, but an end.  

That is why we are more grateful than ever to have to have MetLife Foundation’s support of our Girls’ Education Program.  MetLife Foundation has supported our girls’ education and gender equality work across Asia since 2017. 

Over the past 3 years, MetLife Foundation has supported Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Nepal, and are expanding their support to India this year. Through their generous donations, thousands of girls across Asia have been connected with the resources they need to make key life decisions by providing life skills curriculum, opportunities for mentorship and peer support, and family and community engagement.

“At MetLife Foundation, we believe everyone deserves equal access to education,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “We are proud to build upon our existing partnership with Room to Read at this critical time to help vulnerable young women across Asia continue learning despite school closures.”

During Room to Read’s 2020 Back to School campaign, MetLife Foundation matched donations to help Room to Read keep children in low-income communities learning during COVID-19 school closures. These vital funds are supporting our teams to keep girls safe and educated while schools remain closed through remote mentoring, as well as allowing Room to Read to teach literacy lessons through TV and radio broadcasts. Today, our teams are achieving extraordinary results to ensure education endures, thanks to the gifts of supporters around the world and longstanding partners such as MetLife Foundation.


Amidst school closures around the world, girls, particularly those in low-income communities, are at higher risk of dropping out of school, facing gender-based violence, early marriage and a higher rate of teenage pregnancy. At Room to Read, ware working to ensure that we don’t lose these girls to the effects of the pandemic. Our social mobilizers have continued to work with the girls, providing direct messaging and remote mentoring to the participants in our Girls Education Program 

According to our recent Pivot Activities Indicator Report, we found that one in two girls, or 49 percent, are at high-risk for not returning to school. If these girls drop out of school, we fear they will never have the opportunity to reach their full potential. In the face of this global pandemic, it is critical that we ensure girls are developing the life skills they need to succeed both academically and in their lives beyond school. 

Above all else, we know that education endures. Equipping adolescent girls with the skills and tools they need to lead healthy and independent lives is essential in breaking the cycle of child marriage, poverty and illiteracy. By supporting girls’ education across low-income communities in Asia, we are committed to ensuring that this crisis doesn’t result in a generation of children who lack basic reading and life skills. 

Thanks to our amazing supporters, like MetLife Foundation, we have been able to keep 92 percent of our Girls’ Education Program participants connected to educational resources to stay on track with their academics. Between April and May 2020, Room to Read social mobilizers delivered 34,241 remote mentoring sessions to a total of 23,759 girls in our program. They’ve also sent a total of 223,690 messages since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.


Thank you to MetLife Foundation for their continued support of Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program; together, we can continue to change the lives of children across the globe through the power of education. 

Click here to learn more about Room to Read's Girls' Education Program.