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Room to Read
Annual Report 2009

Celebrating Our First Decade,

Envisioning the Next

Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of
children in developing countries by focusing on literacy
and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration
with local communities, partner organizations and
governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of
reading among primary school children, and support girls
to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills
to succeed in school and beyond.

is an outstanding statistic considering
that if you are born poor, rural and female
in the developing world, the odds are
stacked against you. We’re confident
that soon there will be a generation
of educated young women creating
their own futures and bettering their
communities, and we should all be proud
in knowing that we helped build the
foundation that paved the way for their
outstanding success.

As I board flight after flight to share the

Room to Read story around the globe,
I’m so proud to tell people how far we’ve
come in our first decade. But I’m even
prouder to point to where we’re headed
next. I’ve seen firsthand how Room to
Read has snowballed from that first
library in Bahundanda, Nepal into an
Dear Friends, reason, to build and to dream. Together,
avalanche of books, libraries and schools –
all of us believe that every child deserves
2 all the elements for a “perfect storm” to
As many of you know, I’m a seasoned this opportunity.
transform the lives of children through
“road warrior.” I’ve logged over one
For the past 10 years, Room to Read has the power of education.
million miles during Room to Read’s
first decade, and I spend more time in been laying the foundation for creating
As you’re reading this report or your
airports than I do at my home in San a literate environment in places lacking
favorite newspaper or a good book, please
Francisco. The silver lining to so much consider the millions of children unable
time on airplanes is having long hours
“Over four million children to read even the most simple of texts;
of quiet reading time. I tend to maintain
a sizable collection of books, newspapers in nine countries now have not because they’re slow learners, but
because they just don’t have the tools. Our
and magazines that I haul from one end access to Room to Read goal is both simple and bold: to forever
of the world to the other (please note,
schools and libraries.” end the day when a child can be told she
this is not a plea for an iPad or Kindle, but or he was born in the wrong place, at the
please do keep those frequent flier mile wrong time, to the wrong parents. The
donations coming!). some of the most basic educational
hunger to learn, that element that defines
resources. And with your help, a decade
our species, is present in every child. It’s
On a recent journey, as I perused a book of building has resulted in some pretty
both a responsibility and an opportunity
review, I was struck by a quote from incredible numbers – over 10,000
for all of us, as citizens of a world that
Alberto Manguel’s book “A Reader on libraries, 1,200 schools and more than
becomes ever smaller, to do our part to
Reading.” He eloquently states, “I believe seven million books put into the hands
feed that appetite for education.
we are, at the core, reading animals, and of eager young readers. Over four million
that the art of reading, in its broadest children in nine countries now have
sense, defines our species.” access to Room to Read schools
and libraries.
The ability and desire to read has had a
profound influence on me and can have a Included in these millions, by the end
major impact on the life of any individual, of 2010, are more than 10,000 girls who
John Wood
Founder & Board Chair
family and community in the developing will be able to continue their education
world. For the ability to read translates through our Girls’ Education program.
into the ability to communicate, to Last year, over 96 percent of these girls
matriculated to the next grade level. This
have the greatest impact: literacy and
gender equality in education. First, we
will focus on primary school literacy,
working toward the day when every child
learns to read and write. Second, we will
continue our Girls’ Education program,
focusing on ensuring girls have an equal
opportunity to attend secondary school
and gain the relevant skills to negotiate
key life decisions.

Guided by our new global framework,

we are taking the next logical step to
evolve in new directions that build
upon our first decade of experience, and
leverage our organizational strengths.
In doing so, we are expanding our work
to include such components as tailored
reading instruction and enhanced life
Dear Friends, In an endeavor to identify new ways to skills workshops for girls. We believe that
best address this epidemic of illiteracy these areas, combined with our strong
The first 10 years of any nonprofit and the lack of quality educational 3
programs, will allow us to have a deep
organization’s existence truly are a opportunities for children – especially and lasting impact on the children we
proving ground. In this relatively short girls – and to identify our goals for this serve and for the field of education in the
time, an organization goes from the initial next decade, we undertook a thorough developing world.
spark of inspiration to laying a foundation and participatory strategic planning
that can carry into the future. When process throughout 2009. The first We hope that you will continue to partner
Room to Read began 10 years ago, no one decade of Room to Read was focused on with us as we embark on this exciting
could have imagined that it would grow providing much-needed infrastructure new decade of working with our eager
as quickly as it has. In a decade, Room
to Read scaled exponentially to reach
into nine countries in the developing
“Lack of education is the result of many factors, and while
world, and we’ve established ourselves we can’t address every one, we are committed to two
as a leader in global education. We’ve critical areas where we believe we can have the greatest
also inspired a network of over 5,500
dedicated volunteers who have joined our
impact: literacy and gender equality in education.”
global education movement.
in the form of libraries, schools and students, teachers and communities
While we are proud to be celebrating children’s books, as well as funding across the globe. Together, we will
our 10th anniversary, we also know our scholarships for girls. Looking ahead, we change the world through the power
work is far from complete. Room to Read will continue to support communities of education.
envisions a world in which all children with educational resources, while also
can pursue a quality education that ensuring they have enhanced capacity
enables them to reach their full potential to better utilize the resources needed to
and contribute to their community and effectively increase children’s learning
the world. We are firm believers in Nelson outcomes.
Mandela’s quote, “Education is the most Erin Ganju
powerful weapon which you can use to Lack of education is the result of many Co-Founder & CEO
change the world.” Yet today, there are factors, and while we can’t address
still an estimated 759 million adults who every one, we are committed to two
have never learned to read or write – two- critical areas where we believe we can
thirds of whom are women.
R is for Reading

While trekking through the Himalayas, John Wood

1998-1999 visits a school in Bahundanda, Nepal that has few John meets Dinesh Shrestha via email,
and Dinesh agrees to help shepherd
books for its 450 students to read. The headmaster
says, “Perhaps, sir, you will someday come back donated books through Nepal customs and
with books.” get them into schools.

Books to the Rescue

Reading Room, Sri Lanka

When asked about his favorite book, reading skills. These literacy pilot
11-year-old Kasun – normally very shy – programs are preparing teachers and
lights up immediately and quickly locates librarians to more effectively teach
the oversized picture book in his new reading in the classrooms and libraries,
school library. The vibrantly illustrated and are providing materials that support
book tells the story of a happy fish that this effort. Together, these programs create
makes new friends in the sea. “While he a cycle allowing reading skills to improve,
is swimming he meets crabs and other and children the chance to discover new
animals, and then a sea snail and then books and gain the habit of reading.
he becomes friendly with a lobster and
a prawn,” beams Kasun, who obviously A few hours southwest of Kasun, in
knows the story by heart. the Matale district, lives Dulanjali, an Her makeshift library is set up in her
exceptional student supported by Room impeccably neat room. “I collect second-
The tale of the outgoing fish and his to Read’s Girls’ Education program. Her hand books and lend them out to my
friends is a dramatic contrast to Kasun’s love for reading inspired her to start her friends and neighbors,” she says. “I want
somber life in a nearby orphanage on the own community library. “I was lucky,” everyone in my village to appreciate
east coast of Sri Lanka. “My father is dead, Dulanjali says. “Room to Read partners books.” Every book is listed in a detailed 5
and my mother brought me to the home with my school and provides books. It ledger that Dulanjali marks each time
because we didn’t have clothes to wear for opened up a whole new world for me, books are checked out. When asked
school,” he explains. But, Kasun’s world but there are several children in my which book is her favorite, Dulanjali
recently changed for the better when village who are not so lucky, and I want reaches under her pillow for a small
Room to Read established a colorful new to help them.” hand-stitched book. The cover is plain
library at his school. The old library was a
meager collection of outdated and dense
texts stored in the headmaster’s office for
The library, proclaims Kasun, is his “favorite place on
safekeeping. Children were required to get earth,” and his reading skills, as well as those of his
special permission just to see them. fellow students, have markedly improved since the
The library, proclaims Kasun, is his library opened.
“favorite place on earth,” and his reading
skills, as well as those of his fellow Dulanjali divides her time between but the title speaks for itself: How Room
students, have markedly improved since school and house work. “In this village, to Read Changed My Life. “ One day I will
the library opened. there is very little a girl can do apart from publish this book,” she says with a smile.
cooking and helping with the housework,”
Such enthusiasm can be found in Reading Story excerpted and adapted from “Room
she says. “But I don’t want to walk in my
Rooms across Sri Lanka where, together to Read’s Results in Sri Lanka” by David
mother’s footsteps. I want to be respected Pilling, published by the Financial Times on
with the introduction of Room to Read’s
for my work. I want to become a lawyer December 11, 2009. Copyright owned by the
literacy pilot programs in 2009, children
so that I can fight for our rights.” Financial Times.
are developing and improving their

With the help of eight

book-bearing donkeys, Dinesh proposes that John help
3,000 books are reconstruct and expand two
delivered to five badly damaged schools. John
Nepalese schools. agrees to find the funding.
B is for Books

2000 Having quit Microsoft to start what

was then known as Books for Nepal,
FOUNDING John devotes himself full-time
to this new endeavor.

A Dream Comes True

Local Language Publishing, South Africa

Despite a successful and fulfilling 10-year to befriend an indifferent bear, until

teaching career, Shao says she secretly an encounter with a local hunter just
always harbored an ambition to write before Easter changes everything. The
children’s books, a dream that grew out book explores themes of loneliness and
of the countless hours she spent as a friendship, and was inspired by Shao’s

“I want my child to be able to read and learn in Sepedi as

I did,” says Shao. She is expecting her first child later this
year and looks forward to passing on the joy of reading
she inherited to the next generation.

child scribbling her thoughts down in a own feelings of loss after her twin
seemingly endless series of journals. After brother, whom she considered her best
years of fantasizing about becoming an friend, went missing.
author, Shao was finally able to realize 7
her dream with the help of Room to Read. One of 10 original titles that Room to Read
As far back as she can remember, Shao South Africa selected to be published in
has loved stories. As a child, she would In 2008, Shao came across a notice in 2009, The Hare and the Bear is written in
be enraptured as her grandmother, a the local paper promoting a writing Shao’s native Sepedi, a point of particular
storyteller in the oral tradition, would competition sponsored by Room to Read. pride for the author. “My favorite book
recount dramatic stories and folktales She entered the contest on a whim – as a child was Arebale, which means
in their native dialect of Sepedi – one of a fateful decision that would lead to a ‘Let’s Read’ in Sepedi,” says Shao. She
South Africa’s 11 official languages. turning point in her life. Through the strongly believes that her earliest literary
contest, Shao was invited to participate in experiences were so powerful in large
Animated and passionate when she a writer’s workshop coordinated by Room part because they were told in a familiar
speaks, Shao grew up in a tightly-knit to Read’s Local Language Publishing voice. “I want my child to be able to read
family in Limpopo – South Africa’s program. At the workshop, budding and learn in Sepedi as I did,” says Shao.
northernmost province; her father authors are encouraged to develop their She is expecting her first child later this
was a preacher and her mother was a writing skills and receive instruction year and looks forward to passing on the
traditional healer. Shao’s love of reading and coaching from local writing experts. joy of reading she inherited to the next
and of storytelling was instilled in her With the encouragement of workshop generation.
by her mother and grandmother, whom instructors, Shao penned the beginnings
she credits with inspiring her to pursue a of her first book, The Hare and the Bear. Soon thousands of South African children,
career as a second grade school teacher. including Shao’s new baby, will be able
The Hare and the Bear tells the story of a to enjoy the tale of The Hare and the Bear
lonely hare who unsuccessfully attempts when it arrives in Room to Read libraries
this summer.

Two schools open in Nepal, and Books for Nepal begins awarding
libraries continue to be established scholarships—primarily to girls—so
and filled with donated English-language books. they can attend school. This program
eventually becomes Room to Read’s
Girls’ Education program.
S is for School

2001 John meets Erin Ganju, who offers to coordinate expansion

into Vietnam. Together with Dinesh, they vow to hire
ROOM TO READ locally for all positions and empower each office
to adapt programs for their home country.

A Temple of Learning
School Room, Laos

Perched atop a grassy knoll in the Room to Read offered to help. The very
Xayabouly province of Laos, two buildings next day I called all the parents and the
at Naxam Complete Primary School sit community leaders to share this news
in dramatic contrast. One resembles an and ask each one about what we could
aging barn, with loose wooden planks contribute as part of Room to Read’s
and broken hinged doors. The other, a ‘challenge grant’.”
long six-room concrete building with
large windows stands strong, as sounds He recalled that while everyone was
from children emanate from its doorway. thrilled about the possibility of a
new school, the “challenge grant”
“This is the jewel on our crown,” says stipulation was intimidating because just for our children, but it is also for our
Souphanh, the school principal as he few were willing to commit to any grandchildren and their children. Imagine
walks toward the library. “This school is donations – either cash or in-kind. In after this is constructed, our children will
indeed a gift to this community,” echoes a farming community with large get a better education and will not have
Stephan, the former principal. “When families barely supporting themselves to struggle like us’.”
I first came I was worried about the on meager incomes, the hesitation was
building. This was certainly one of the understandable. But Stephan campaigned At age 64, Lung Tai left his full-time job to
most uninspiring places for a child to relentlessly for the school project, and fulfill his promise to level the ground for
the school. Soon, other members of the
“Room to Read kept its promise to this community and community joined in the construction.
“I thought of this as an investment,” says
has been supportive. Because of this, today this school Lung Tai with a broad grin. He adds, “This
enrolls more than 130 students from two villages!” school has not just bonded us together
and made our village popular, but also
study. During the monsoon, children soon his office was filled with donated changed our lives. Our children have
skipped school because their classrooms bags of cement, ladders, buckets and better educational opportunities and also
were flooded with rain water gushing in other building supplies. they are healthier as they don’t fall sick
from all sides. Apart from that, there was during the monsoon!”
also always a real possibility the structure “We started meeting once each week to
take stock and share the progress with Souphanh agrees. “Room to Read kept its
would fall on our heads.” He laughs
the community,” he says. “One evening promise to this community and has been
before continuing on a more serious note,
my friend Lung Tai, who had no children supportive. Because of this, today this
“But I knew it was futile complaining to
of his own, attended the meeting and school enrolls more than 130 students
anyone because buildings cost money
offered to level the school ground with from two villages!”
and that was something no one had.”
the land rover he owned. He told the
Lung Tai nods in approval and sums it
In 2007, Room to Read proposed the others, ‘this school is not for you or me or
up: “This is our new temple, a temple
construction of a new school. Stephan
of learning.”
remembers, “We were overjoyed when

Scholastic, Inc. donates 11,000

Books for Nepal officially changes English-language children’s books
its name to Room to Read! to Room to Read libraries.
G is for Girls


2002 Room to Read opens its headquarters in

San Francisco, expands operations into
first tipping point Cambodia and begins to invest in monitoring
and evaluating programmatic impact.

A Stronger Foundation
Girls’ Education, Bangladesh

“Self-reliance.” The answer comes quickly their remoteness and poverty, and few
and without hesitation from Fulara when organizations choose to work in the area
asked what she hopes for her daughter in despite the dire need.
the future. “I want her to have a job and
not be dependent on anyone else.” However, Room to Read, in partnership
with the local organization SHARP,
Fulara wants for her daughter, Sujata, decided to begin program operations in
what she couldn’t have herself. Like most the char, where 234 girls are currently
women in one of the poorest parts of enrolled in the Girls’ Education program.
the world, Fulara married young and Social mobilizers from SHARP act as
had to rely on her husband for income mentors and tutors for the girls and
she attended through Room to Read’s
and security. However, security is a very provide important life skills training,
program – have helped her daughter
subjective word in the char region of school supplies and encouragement to
develop confidence and a growing sense
ensure that the girls will succeed despite
of independence. More and more, the
“What do you hope for your their incredibly challenging daily lives.
entire family recognizes the importance
daughter in the future?” Eleven-year-old Sujata is an only child, a of continuing Sujata’s education,
encouraging her to excel in her studies. 11
“I want her to have a job rare occurrence in an area where family
size is often quite large. Her mother, a
and not be dependent on housewife, and her father, a brick-layer
As Sujata describes her favorite story

anyone else.” on the mainland, own no property so the

book about a precocious kitten, her
mother shows an obvious pride in the
family resides in structures they built on
fact that her daughter is getting an
Bangladesh where every summer, the government-provided land.
education and may find a different path
monsoons come and threaten to wash than the generations of women before
Each day, Sujata walks over two miles
away the tin houses and the land beneath her. Although their home is transitory
to and from school where she is in sixth
them. Chars, or small islands, are home to and uncertain due to the whim of nature,
grade. The walk is long, but now that
over 3.5 million of Bangladesh’s poorest an education creates a strong foundation
she participates in the Girls’ Education
people. With a life expectancy of less for Sujata and the hundreds of other char
program, she is much more engaged in
than 50 years, the char-dweller may girls like her that Room to Read is helping
school and doesn’t mind getting up early
migrate from island to island over 40 to empower.
to get to school on time. Her mother notes
times in a short lifetime. Seven hours
that while Sujata gets a good formal
from the capital city of Dhaka and lacking
education during regular school hours, the
electricity and access to commerce, the
extra opportunities to learn life skills –
people in the char are a world away in
such as the “self-awareness” workshop

The Draper Richards Foundation awards Room to Read a

Room to Read supports over 100 three-year grant for US$300,000, and Fast Company
girls through its Girls’ Education Magazine profiles John — both key tipping points that
program in Nepal and Vietnam. enable critical organizational change.
T is for Teamwork

Country Highlights
year in review

12 Across the world, Room to Read’s nine Nepal Nepal’s Local Language Publishing
country offices focused on implementing program was recognized for its
Room to Read Nepal saw tremendous
their goals and maximizing the number outstanding contributions to the field
progress in its Girls’ Education program
of children’s literature by the esteemed
of children who benefit from Room that is now supporting 350 Kamlari girls.
Nepalese Society for Children’s Literature
to Read’s high-quality educational These girls, who had previously been
(NESCHIL). Two of Nepal’s local language
programs. Collectively, in 2009 our sold into bonded service, were rescued
books received NESCHIL awards in 2009 –
by one of our local partner organizations
country teams established 2,130 one for best children’s book and one for
and are now being supported by Room to
libraries, published 106 children’s book best illustrated book.
Read. Because of the traumatic experience
titles representing over one million of living away from home and working as
printed books, constructed 361 schools laborers at a young age, the girls often are
and supported 9,074 girls to attend plagued with low self-esteem and have Through the Local Language Publishing
school. In the course of just one year, difficulty transitioning back into school program, early readers in Vietnam were
and the community. Life skills aimed at treated to large format books for both
Room to Read impacted more than
developing self-worth and confidence are reading and coloring. The popular “big
900,000 children.
a key part of the Girls’ Education program, books” are effective tools for basic
and together with academic support, comprehension in lower grades and allow
enable the girls to adjust to and succeed for interactive learning. A total of 140
in school. To date, almost all the girls teachers, librarians, school and education
have mainstreamed into regular school, officials participated in a special teacher
with 67 attending bridge courses to assist
them in the transition.

Room to Read and Books for Asia collaborate
to generate and collect book donations,
distributing them throughout Room to Read
training workshop for the big books and function and sustainability was Language Publishing program, including
learned how to use these books in shared organized in each province. Garhwali, Telugu and Rajasthani. Two
reading activities, storytelling and as of the 2009 titles, Pani and Machchho’s
links to other classroom lessons. In a country with average secondary Ocean Journey were also shortlisted by
school completion rates well below National Book Trust (NBT) as a part of
Room to Read Vietnam’s Girls’ education 30 percent, it is especially noteworthy the Bolivia World Book Fair. In addition,
program welcomed 274 Khmer girls that 90 percent of our 12th grade Girls’ the new title, Meri Kitab, has been
from Tra Vinh, an area of high poverty, Education participants passed their high shortlisted by the prestigious National
a large Khmer minority population who school examinations. Many of the girls Council for Educational Research and
emigrated from Cambodia, and one of the are now enrolled in universities, including Training (NCERT) in India as a part of
highest dropout rate in the Mekong delta. the University of Chea Sim Kamchay Mea reading material set for their Reading
Room to Read is working closely with the in Prey Veng province and University Cell program. 13
girls to help them stay and excel in school, of Health Science, Law and Economics
despite language and cultural barriers. Science in Phnom Penh.
Cambodia India For the second consecutive year, the Laos
Local Language Publishing team was
Room to Read’s ultimate goal is to have India’s diversity of cultures brings unique honored by the Ministry of Information
communities eventually take over full challenges in effectively developing plans Education and Culture with two book
responsibility for the libraries and and projects. Room to Read India spent the excellence awards. The winning stories
schools built through Room to Read. first half of the year securing agreements were Nang Oy’s Dream, about a girl’s right
Therefore, it was quite a milestone with the many educational constituents to have an education, and Many Bags,
when the operations of 402 projects in involved in our various programs and about two children learning to recycle.
three Cambodian provinces (Kampong focusing on expanding our partnership Being acknowledged and honored by
Chhnang, Pursat and Battambong) were with the government. In fact, several the government speaks to the quality
officially transferred to the Government state governments in India have such a standards Room to Read is setting and
Provincial Office of Education. Education high regard for our programs that they how significantly the organization is
officials expressed deep appreciation have been replicating our Reading Room contributing to the field of children’s
of Room to Read’s support and assured libraries in other government schools. literature.
strong commitment to maintain the
projects. To ensure long-term operation of In addition to Hindi and English-language
the libraries, a workshop on library books, three additional minority
languages were added to the Local

With help from the Skoll

Foundation, Room to Read
Room to Read expands into India with launches a pilot program
a focus on local organization and in Nepal to create local
2003 government partnerships. These types language children’s books
of relationships ultimately become a to fill its libraries. The
creativity key best practice for Room to Read’s Local Language Publishing
future operations. program is born!
In 2009, the Laos Girls’ Education team pre-schools, coordinating teacher training South Africa
observed a frightening trend that linked and distributing over 100,000 children’s
Library Week was celebrated in March of
the majority of dropouts of girls books via mobile libraries to many of
2009 and was marked with the official
transitioning from primary to secondary the 60,000 children and their families
launch of 75 Reading Room libraries in
14 school to human trafficking and the need displaced by the conflict. In 2010, there
partnership with the Department of
for girls to financially support their will be a focus on establishing Reading
Education. Following a visit to all libraries,
families. In response, local teams in Room libraries, schools and support for
the Department of Education selected
Xayabouly and Salavan provinces held girls’ education in the Mannar district,
eight Room to Read libraries to be
three workshops to educate parents on which is likely to be one of the first
community libraries. Because the libraries
the dangers associated with human regions of the country to experience
support all schools within their vicinity,
trafficking. The objectives of the resettlement.
the Department of Education will invest
workshops were to improve parents’
In addition to the 18 titles published additional resources into these libraries
perception of girls’ education, and to
by Room to Read Sri Lanka, 50 stories to ensure their sustainability and service
strengthen ties between the parents, the
generated from our writer and illustrator to the communities. In addition, as part
community and Room to Read.
workshop participants were printed by of the celebration, two Reading Rooms
other publishers (25 in Sinhala and 25 in in Mpumalanga – the Kennen Primary
Sri Lanka School and Ehlanzeni Siyakhula – were
Tamil). Writers and illustrators trained in
In May of 2009, the military’s victory our workshops are now able to produce recognized for their excellence and
over the Tamil Tiger separatists brought more stories and add to the number of Sri named school library of the year in each
an end to a 25-year civil war in Sri Lanka. Lankan children’s books that can be made of their regions.
The end of the long conflict in the north available to children.
and east of the country is enabling The Department of Education introduced a
international organizations such as Room program in schools called “Foundations for
to Read to assist with the rebuilding in Learning” which requires students to be
these areas. We began by establishing granted a 30-minute daily period to “Drop

Volunteer chapters emerge

across the U.S., Canada and
in the U.K. to help efficiently
2003 broaden fundraising efforts. 2004
A chapter strategy is formed
and Room to Read becomes an continuing
official U.K. charity.
the momentum
All and Read.” Room to Read supported district. In partnership with Lafarge, a The team was also very rigorous in
this campaign by providing well- global cement company, Room to Read selecting books for children. In doing
stocked libraries for the communities. Zambia and communities built five so, Room to Read engaged government
In fact, because of increased demand Constructed Reading Rooms. officials, UN bodies, education experts
for children’s books in 2009, the Local and local and international organizations 15
Language Publishing team doubled its Secondary school enrollment rates in through a Book Selection Committee to
print run and began partnering with Sub-Saharan Africa are the lowest in the develop and use a very comprehensive
education officials to help distribute our world. In Zambia, approximately half quality assessment tool to help the
books to non-Room to Read supported of all girls matriculate from primary to committee make decisions on book
schools. secondary school, and the completion procurement. The team read hundreds
rates decrease substantially, to less than of books and also organized children’s
40 percent. Zambia’s Girls’ Education
Zambia workshops to solicit their suggestions in
program received exciting news that all selecting the best books for their peers.
The UN’s Education For All (EFA) initiative, 104 Room to Read girl scholars passed
with its focus on increasing access to their 7th grade exam in 2009. This critical The successful implementation of the
educational quality, has required that national examination allows students to Reading Room and Girls’ Education
unprecedented numbers of classrooms advance to 8th grade. programs in the remote areas of
be built in Zambia. Because of this, all Bangladesh depend on dedicated
space in schools is highly coveted and
Bangladesh community support as well. Residents
none is left for libraries. Our construction have assisted with carrying supplies
efforts in Zambia are thus integral to the The training of government and
and furniture to areas without roads,
development of space to house the often registered primary school teachers
building up areas in flood zones to
neglected libraries. Room to Read Zambia in classroom library management,
provide safe locations for girls’ weekly
and the Reading Room team focused their organized by Room to Read Bangladesh in
life skills meetings and providing electric
work in providing classroom libraries 2009, was the first of its kind by any non-
fans to improve the children’s learning
to 45 new communities in the Nyimba government organization in Bangladesh.

Local language children’s books are Room to Read wins the first of five
published in Nepal. One book, “Mero Gaun consecutive Fast Company/Monitor
Ko Katha,” is a compilation of three Group Social Capitalist Awards for
stories from girls who won our first innovation and social impact, and
children’s writing competition. fundraising continues to grow.
I is for Innovation

Program Highlights
year in review

Implementing Pilot Literacy provide a designated library room. To

ensure all libraries are being used to
their fullest potential, Room to Read
In anticipation of our heightened focus committed to working more closely with
on literacy, Room to Read implemented government and community partners to
three reading pilot programs to secure dedicated reading periods. To date,
understand how our organization can reading periods have been established
directly improve the reading habits of in Cambodia, parts of South Africa and
students who utilize our libraries and Vietnam.
local language resources. New literacy
pilots were introduced in Sri Lanka and
Complementing the
Nepal and a reading skills pilot in India
continued into its second year. In each
School Curriculum
2009 was defined by capacity-building country, Room to Read staff worked with The Local Language Publishing program
across the organization through the local governments, school principals, continued to expand its efforts, both in
scaling of our programs, innovations and teachers to create new resources for content and quality. Based on feedback
16 across our countries and a year-long students including materials focused on from teachers and education experts,
literacy instruction — such as vocabulary Room to Read developed innovative
strategic planning process to create a
development and phonics — as well as educational materials for students,
renewed vision and mission to guide
reading materials to provide children including early readers, storybooks and
us in our second decade. We did all of with the opportunity to practice using non-fiction books, which complement
this despite the challenging economic their skills. Based on lessons learned, we the local curriculum and make the
climate — focusing on strengthening will build out best practices and expand material more engaging for students.
each of our core programs and these pilot programs into additional In Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam, our
countries. teams included the government in the
improving operations, including
book selection process to ensure that our
increasing our program monitoring.
Scaling Our Classroom program materials support subjects and
themes learned in the classroom.
In 2009, Room to Read prioritized
Growing Our Girl Graduates
establishing classroom libraries and, by
year’s end, completed 425 across eight In 2009, a total of 69 scholars graduated
countries. Classroom libraries make from secondary school: 27 in Cambodia,
books more accessible to children and nine in India, two in Nepal and 31 in
allow teachers to integrate books into Vietnam. Some of the graduates have
classroom instruction. This library decided to continue their studies at local
model allows Room to Read to partner colleges and universities, while others
with overcrowded schools that cannot have found employment or are active in

Room to Read celebrates the opening of its 100th school in Vietnam,
its 1,000th library in Cambodia, and in Nepal, its local language books
receive the Nepalese Society for Children’s Literature Award.

their local communities. We are proud of Education program, Room to Read focused with baseline data collection activities
our scholars for their commitment to their its efforts on strengthening the capacity in Zambia, Nepal and Laos. The goal
studies and we are confident they are of social mobilizers with local workshops of the evaluation is to increase our
better equipped for the life choices ahead. in all countries. organizational understanding of how
the Reading Room program works to
The success of these graduates can be
Evaluating Our Flagship create literate environments for students.
attributed to effective connections with
social mobilizers, community members
Program In particular, the evaluation seeks to
draw conclusions about the effect of the
who interact with our girl scholars on a As Room to Read has continued to Reading Room program on students’
frequent and consistent basis. Serving as expand and deepen its efforts to create habits and attitudes towards reading.
facilitators and mentors, social mobilizers literate environments for children in the More importantly, lessons learned from
are in regular contact with the girls to developing world, the need for a rigorous, the evaluation will further support Room
help them maintain life skills practices, co- cross-national study of its flagship to Read’s goal of creating vibrant learning
facilitate workshops with teachers, create program – the Reading Room program – environments that motivate children to
dialogue with community members has grown increasingly important. In read, ultimately putting them on the path
about the importance of girls’ education, 2009, Room to Read embarked on the to lifelong literacy.
and make program recommendations. first stage of a three-year, cross-national
Because of their key role in the Girls’ evaluation of its Reading Room program

Following the 2004 tsunami, Room

2005 to Read enters Sri Lanka and decides
to expand into Laos. Within two years,
responding to need 80 schools are opened in tsunami-
impacted villages in Sri Lanka.
Monitoring Our Performance
With a commitment to program quality
as well as transparency of results,
monitoring and evaluation play a major
role in the development of our various
programs. In 2009, our monitoring
and evaluation teams collected and
analyzed information on performance
and accomplishment measures for all
programs in countries where we worked
through 2009 – a total of 14,000 projects.

In our Reading Room program, previously

established libraries specifically
underwent thorough monitoring. Of the
5,581 libraries established between 2007
and 2009, it was found that 97 percent
have a book classification system in place,
and 96 percent have functional book
checkout systems.

In our School Room program, Room to

Read visited and inspected 478 school
buildings constructed during 2006
through 2008 and found that 99 percent
remained structurally sound. In order to
proactively address the small percentage
requiring basic maintenance, we are now
implementing a maintenance training
program for the schools that we construct. Our Results
The monitoring effort was successful Since 2000 Room to Read has supported more than four million children by
in building staff capacity, collecting providing better access to quality educational opportunities.
data on an annual basis and learning
• Building 1,128 schools and establishing 9,266 bilingual libraries.
what we do well and what areas need
improvement and support. Based on • Publishing 433 original local language children’s books, in 22 different languages,
this ongoing process, we continually representing the distribution of more than 4.1 million books.
refine the definitions and data collection
methods for some measures in order • Distributing over 7.4 million children’s books that include original Room to Read
to make them more useful, and using titles, donated English-language books and local language books.
the analyzed data to identify possible
• Supporting 9,074 girls through its Girls’ Education program for a total of 26,000
program improvements.
years of girls’ education.
(Results through 2009)

Room to Read continues

to build out operations
Room to Read opens its 2,000th in Asia, embarks on its
library at a ground-breaking first strategic plan, and
ceremony in Cambodia, and donates finishes its first independent
its one millionth book with a evaluation survey across
celebration in Nepal. four countries.
V is for Vision

Envisioning Our Future

As Room to Read approached its 10th Room to Read began its work 10 years ago with a simple desire to bring books to the
anniversary, we wanted to ensure we children of Nepal. Today, we are a global organization – working in nine countries
could sustain our strong momentum across Asia and Africa – that helps millions of children in the developing world gain
20 access to quality educational opportunities. We have built an effective, entrepreneurial
and enter our second decade with the
and passionate global team, a strong and diverse donor base and a foundation of
focus and leadership to increase our scalable programming.
impact. In 2009, we conducted a
thorough and participatory strategic Over the past 10 years, we have developed an integrated, long-term approach to address
a range of educational needs that create lasting change for children in the developing
planning process to articulate our goals
world through our Reading Room (library) program, our Local Language Publishing
for the next decade and beyond, as well
program, our School Room program and our Girls’ Education program.
as to define the major strategies needed
to achieve them. Recently, we have taken steps to further improve the quality of our programs and to
place a greater emphasis on desired, measurable outcomes. The result of our exploration
and strategic planning exercise is a sharpening of our focus under two main objectives:
Our goal for the future is more Literacy and Gender Equality in Education. As we enter our second decade, Room to
ambitious than ever: to enable Read will build upon our history of providing access to educational infrastructure
more than 10 million children in through libraries, children’s books, schools, and girls’ education, and expand our work
over a dozen developing world to include reading instruction programs and enhanced life skills workshops for girls. It
countries to maximize their is through these two critical areas of educational development where we believe we
educational experiences by 2015. can have the greatest impact.

Room to Read commits to enter
exploring new Africa, choosing South Africa as Over 2,000 girls are now
its first country of operation. supported through the Girls’
continents Regional offices in both southern Education program across
Africa and Asia are opened. five countries.

John’s book, “Leaving Microsoft to Change

the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Room to Read receives its first 4-star Charity
Educate the World’s Children,” is published Navigator rating, an award it has since won four
by Harper Collins, and is featured in consecutive years, and receives its first
media from the New York Times to the US$1 million corporate commitment from the
Washington Post to USA Today. Goldman Sachs Foundation.
Our Literacy Focus

Literacy is part of the right to a basic education and is crucial for economic, social and Changes we hope to effect
political participation and development.* Yet today, there are more than 750 million through our Literacy program
illiterate adults (age 15 and above) in the world, with 98 percent living in developing
include the following:
countries. In order for children – who are the focus of Room to Read’s work – to acquire
lifelong literacy skills, they need access to books and other reading materials. > Develop the literacy skills and reading
habits of primary school children
Through our Literacy program, Room to Read will focus on literacy as the foundation of
all other learning by developing reading skills and the habit of reading among primary > Improve access to culturally-relevant, age-
appropriate, and gender-sensitive reading
school children. Our goal is to develop more independent readers, and we look to
achieve this by increasing access to culturally-relevant, age-appropriate and gender-
sensitive reading materials; improving the effectiveness of teachers and librarians to > Increase effectiveness of teachers and
teach literacy skills and develop the habit of reading among children; and enhancing librarians to teach literacy skills and
the school environment to be more conducive to learning. develop the habit of reading

> Enhance school environments to be more

Our current programs – Reading Room, Local Language Publishing and School Room –
conducive to learning and reading
support the creation of a literate environment at school and home by surrounding
children with relevant, creative and interesting print material to encourage and foster > Collaborate with governments to support
a joy of reading. The programs also provide teachers, facilitators and librarians with policies and programs to promote primary
materials and strategies to engage children and nurture the habit of reading. school literacy

Through our monitoring efforts, we observed that children within the communities
22 where we work often lack the grade-appropriate reading skills necessary to take Literacy Evolution
full advantage of the Reading Room and Local Language Publishing resources. To
address this issue, our teams in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka launched initial literacy 1998: English-language books donated
pilot programs in 2008 and 2009 to focus on reading skills in the primary grades, a
prerequisite for children to become independent readers and lifelong learners. Initial 2000: Libraries established
lessons learned from these pilots have influenced our new literacy strategy and
2001: Schools constructed
demonstrate that Room to Read can impact more children by focusing on creating
environments that enable and promote reading. Teaching to achieve literacy will also 2003: Local language books published
lead to a greater utilization and a higher rate of return on future projects.
2004: Librarian and teacher
Our future Literacy program will continue to build and sustain the habit of reading and professional development
create a child-friendly, literate school environment through the donation of books and
the building of schools and libraries. With the addition of supporting the teaching of 2008: Classroom libraries established
literacy, we will expand our activities to include building the reading skills of children.
2010 & Beyond: Reading instruction
By integrating all these activities together, we will be able to achieve our goal of more
children becoming independent readers.

*Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006: Literacy for Life. (2006). Paris: UNESCO

2007 Room to Read launches into Zambia, its

second African country. In both India and
the second tipping point Nepal, the first cohorts of girls graduate from
the Girls’ Education program.
Our Gender Equality in Education Focus

Worldwide, girls make up a disproportionately low number of students enrolled in Changes we hope to effect
and completing secondary school. Even where girls and boys are at school in roughly through our Girls’ Education
equal numbers, there is still gender bias against girls in many countries’ curriculums,
program include the following:
classroom dynamics and teaching methodologies. Girls must also overcome a range of
other hurdles to complete their schooling – from a lack of female teachers and positive > Improve completion rates of schooling
role models, to sexual harassment and violence from male teachers and classmates, for girls
to inadequate female toilet facilities. Additionally, girls often risk their safety while
> Increase the self-awareness, decision-
walking to and from school. They may also be forced by their families to drop out of
making, and problem solving skills
school to marry early, care for younger siblings or contribute to family income. of girls

Aside from a desire to bridge the gender gap in education, educating girls is, according > Enhance the school environment so it
to the World Bank and others, simply an excellent investment. When girls learn, their is more accommodating to girls’ needs
families, communities, and societies all benefit – an assertion proven time and time > Generate family, peer and community
again by empirical research. awareness and support of girls’ education

Room to Read will focus on equalizing the secondary school experience for girls as a > Collaborate with governments to support
means for improving gender equality in education and promoting quality education policies and programs to promote girls’
for all children. Our goal is to ensure that girls have equal opportunities to attend education
secondary school, have the support they need to continue in school (including creating
a girl-friendly school environment) and have an opportunity to improve their life skills.
Gender Equality in
Increasingly, education experts are recognizing that life skills are a critical component 23
to realize the full benefits of formal education, yet often these elements are not taught.
Education Evolution
Qualities and skills such as self-confidence, self-awareness, decision making and 2000: F ocus on material support,
problem solving will better prepare a girl for the challenging situations and decisions tutoring and academic support
she faces during, and after, her adolescence.
2004: Group outings, career guidance
In its early years, Room to Read’s Girls’ Education program was a need-based, girls-only and vocational exploration
scholarship program focused on keeping girls enrolled through secondary school. Over
the years, the program has moved away from focusing on scholarships into a more 2007: Life skills (workshops and activities)
holistic program that recognizes that the many barriers to girls’ education cannot be
overcome simply through financial support. Today, the program focuses not only on 2008: Mentoring (social mobilizers),
scholarships but also on providing life skills, including promoting girls’ self-esteem remedial education and bridge
and broadening their horizons through field trips and exposure to new ideas. In courses
recent years, local women have been trained as mentors and advocates for the girls to
2010 & Beyond: School and community
provide more regular and ongoing direct support. In addition, there has been a focus
on increasing parents’ awareness of the value of sending their daughters to school.
Through a combination of all these components, girls in our program will have more
success at completing secondary school and have the life skills necessary to make key
life decisions.

John appears on The Oprah Winfrey Show

in a segment entitled, “I Walked Away
from Millions.” The segment airs three
times, and the publicity through
Oprah’s book drive generates over
US$1.1 million.
M is for Momentum

Our Global Recognition


Room to Read had another incredible Expanding Our Chapter Our chapter network continued to help
Room to Read spread awareness through
year in 2009, one which saw the Network
strengthening of our brand and an numerous fundraising events. Highlights
Room to Read’s chapter network included gala events in Sydney, Hong
expansion of our global chapter continued to expand in 2009 with the Kong and Tokyo which collectively raised
network. We forged several new strategic addition of seven new chapters including over US$2.5 million.
partnerships with industry-leading Aspen Valley, Los Angeles and Nashville
corporations and high-profile media, in the U.S.; Montreal in Canada; and In addition, we saw a tremendous
Brisbane, Canberra, and Melbourne in increase in participation and event
made headlines globally through
Australia. Our total volunteer network creativity within chapters across the
widespread press coverage, and
now includes more than 40 worldwide globe. The Calgary chapter planned a fun
continued to spread the word about chapters. Collectively, Room to Read night called Girls’ Night Out which used
our work through a series of notable now has more than 5,500 volunteers a Bollywood theme to raise funds for
speaking engagements and awards. helping Room to Read plan events and our India programs, and the Greenwich
Such great strides helped Room to Read raise awareness. The chapters raised over chapter held a “Rally for Reading” event
US$6.7 million in 2009 and have raised, with author Patricia McCormick.
close its first decade stronger than ever
on average, 30 percent of Room to Read’s
and position itself to effect even greater
operating budget since 2005.
change in the years to come.

The Academy
for Educational
While on stage with President Development awards
Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Room to Read’s Local
Initiative, John and Erin announce Language Publishing
2007 the Room to Dream campaign and program one of
make a CGI committment to double six “Breakthrough
Room to Read’s reach by establishing Ideas in Education”
10,000 libraries by 2010. prizes.
Global Chapter Network


Seattle NORTH
Portland AMERICA Chicago
Minneapolis/St. Paul
Denver/Boulder St. Louis
Nashville Greenwich
San Francisco
Atlanta New York City
Vail Dallas
Austin Washington, DC
Aspen Valley Houston
Los Angeles
San Diego

London UK & EUROPE
Munich ASIA Tokyo

Hong Kong


Perth Sydney
Melbourne Canberra

The American Library Association

awards Room to Read the “Presidential
2008 Citation” Award, while Room to Read’s
own awards — the “Zackies” —
THINKING BIGGER... are created to recognize
outstanding chapter performance.
Building Promotional In 2009, the Australian software over 400,000 Twitter followers, placing
company, Atlassian, sold more than us in among the top 400 Twitter accounts
30,000 licenses across 111 countries to worldwide. The wine, produced through
Three cause-marketing partnerships were raise over US$250,000 for Room to Read. Crushpad winery, is expected to be
launched in 2009 and garnered us a new The promotional campaign offered clients released in fall 2010 with US$5 of every
audience as well as financial support. the ability to purchase user licenses for bottle sold benefitting Room to Read
the company’s best-selling products with programs in India.
The Republic of Tea, the leading purveyor proceeds benefitting Room to Read.
of premium tea, partnered with Room
Making Worldwide
to Read in the creation of Little Citizens’
Pioneering Our Social Media Headlines
Herb Teas for children. For every tin
of Little Citizens’ Herb Teas sold, The
Presence We were honored to have been selected
26 Republic of Tea is contributing US$1 In 2009, one of the hottest new social by the Financial Times as the charity
toward establishing Reading Rooms media platforms, Twitter, chose Room to partner for its 2009-2010 seasonal appeal
in Asia and South Africa. Sales from 2009, Read as its first formal Corporate Social to readers. This two-month fundraising
the first year of the partnership, funded Innovation partner. The partnership, campaign, with the help of Barclays Capital
six libraries. Original children’s tea ware, which launched in October through the as the lead sponsor, raised a record US$4.3
a plush toy and the Year of the Tiger Tea,
released in 2010, were also developed as
“Not only does Room to Read’s get-things-done approach
part of the program.
speak to our start-up mentality, but as a company we
In addition, FEED Projects launched want to find ways to make a positive impact in the
a special bag called FEED/READ 3 to
promote global education. Proceeds from world.” - Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter
the sale of each bag, sold exclusively
at Barnes & Noble in the United States, announcement of a Twitter-branded million for Room to Read’s programs and
support Room to Read’s Local Language wine called Fledgling (@fledgling), garnered widespread attention through
Publishing program and the United generated enormous media coverage for the publishing of more than 10 feature
Nations World Food Program. Room to Read, including more than 200 stories on Room to Read.
news and blog articles. It also allowed
Room to Read (@roomtoread) to collect

Global PR firm Ketchum

chooses Room to
Dubai Cares funds over 700,000 Read as its exclusive
2008 Room to Read books through its
Million Book Challenge, which invited
nonprofit partner, and
Oliver Wyman Group
students to collectively read one offers strategic pro
million books in two weeks. bono support.
2009 marked the second year of the
Room to Dream Campaign – an
ambitious, three-year fundraising
initiative aimed at raising US$60 million
in capital to expand our Reading Room
and Local Language Publishing programs.
The success of Room to Dream will
mean that by 2010 we will have created
over 11,000 libraries in impoverished
communities across the world. We will
publish over 500 original Room to Read
“The Financial Times believes literacy and access to children’s book titles
education form one of the most powerful tools for
through our Local Language Publishing
promoting economic development, which made Room to program – and source an additional
Read the perfect charity partner for our seasonal appeal.” four million donated English-language
- Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times children’s books.

The Room to Dream Campaign has been

In addition to articles in the Financial Winning Recognition a critical component in Room to Read’s
Times, Room to Read generated global success in 2008 and 2009. In fact, at
through Awards and Events
headlines in a number of other media the end of 2009, we had raised two-
outlets. Barron’s magazine named John Room to Read was again awarded Charity thirds of the campaign goal thanks to 27
Wood and Room to Read one of the Navigator’s 4-star rating (its highest) the incredible generosity of our closest
“25 Best Philanthropists,” in a feature for sound fiscal management. Charity supporters.
profiling the most effective distributors Navigator is America’s largest and
most-utilized independent evaluator of The capital raised allows our talented
of philanthropic capital globally. The
charities. Receiving this honor four years teams to think big as they conceptualize
article ranked Room to Read as 11th out
in a row is a distinction that only eight and implement programs to reach
of 25 and recognized us as a “high-impact
percent of their rated charities can claim. children with quality resources, and to
giving” organization. Other major media
develop the greatest return for families,
attention in 2009 included coverage by
Our executive staff was also honored communities and future generations.
the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times,
to present a series of keynote and We are incredibly pleased to report that
Fortune, Parade, USA Today, Real Simple,
leadership-focused speeches around thanks to Room to Dream, we are well
Men’s Journal, and the Washington Post.
the world in 2009. John Wood was a on our way to creating change and
featured speaker at the Skoll World opportunity for five million children by
Forum in Oxford, the Aspen Ideas Festival, the end of 2010.
and the Commonwealth Club in San
Francisco, among others. Erin Ganju
was a lead presenter at the Women of
Influence Conference in Calgary, the San
Francisco Entrepreneur’s Organization,
and the Professional Business Women of
California Conference in San Francisco.

Room to Read launches operations in Bangladesh

and begins piloting literacy and reading projects
in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal to ensure its libraries
and local language books are better utilized.
P is for Partnership

Corporate and Foundation Sponsors

Throughout Room to Read’s history, Key Supporters charity appeal for 2009-2010 and was
corporations and foundations have instrumental in helping it become the
Dubai Cares has been a most successful seasonal campaign in FT
consistently shown support for Room
significant partner of Room history.
to Read’s programs and innovative
to Read since their highly
business model. Some of the world’s successful Million Book
leading foundations, as well as blue chip Challenge in 2008, enabling
funders from every sector and corner us to establish 489 libraries, publish 14 Bloomberg is an investor of the Reading
new children’s book titles, and distribute Room program in both Asia and Africa,
of the globe, pledged further support
over 700,000 English and local language having funded the establishment of
for our global operations and helped
books across Asia and Africa. Room to Read libraries that serve over
Room to Read end its first decade with 10,000 children in India, Sri Lanka and
incredible momentum. South Africa. 

We thank all of our corporate and

Credit Suisse is our largest corporate
foundation partners for their generous sponsor, supporting Room to Read through
contributions. It is their financial both grants and in-kind resources. Through Scholastic, Inc. has been a key supporter
contributions and in-kind donations its Global Education Initiative, Credit of our Reading Room program since its
Suisse aims to improve the quality and inception, in addition to being trusted
that have allowed us to scale our
effectiveness of educational opportunities advisors for the Local Language Publishing
programs across Asia and Africa, and
for disadvantaged school-age children and program in their capacity as publishing
reach millions of children. experts.  In 2009, Scholastic provided more
young people worldwide. Credit Suisse
supports our Reading Room and School than 450,000 English-language children’s
Room programs in Asia and Africa and also books, through donations and discounts,
“Room to Read remains one of the for our growing network of libraries.
provides strategic core support in Africa.
best investments the Skoll Foundation
has made and demonstrates that Barclays Capital Pearson Longman and
social entrepreneurs and their continues its the Pearson Foundation
continue to support our
innovations can achieve large-scale long-standing
partnership with Room to Read through programs through the
impact. We’re confident that Room to
its investment in the growth of our generous in-kind donation
Read’s clear vision and commitment
Reading Room and Local Language of thousands of English-language
to impact will lead to even greater children’s books and via the Pearson
Publishing programs in South East Asia,
success in the years ahead.” Foundation’s new We Give Books Program.
having supported libraries and local
– Sally Osberg, Skoll Foundation
language books for children in Cambodia
President & CEO and Vietnam. Barclays Capital also acted
as the lead sponsor in the Financial Times’

2009 In Nepal and Laos, four local language

books win awards and in Sri Lanka,
planning ahead programs expand north following the
end of the country’s long civil war.
“As part of Credit Suisse’s commitment to playing an active role in society, we have been proud to work with Room
to Read over the past five years. We look forward to continuing to support them as they strive to raise awareness
of the importance of education globally and expand their projects to create further opportunities for those
in need.” – Hans-Ulrich Doerig, Chairman of Credit Suisse Group AG & Chairman of the Credit Suisse Foundation

Corporate & Foundation Feed Projects, LLC In-Kind Donors

Four Acre Trust
Donors $50,000 and over $50,000 and over
Goldman Sachs Foundation
(1/1/2009-12/31/2009) (1/1/2009-12/31/2009)
John and Frances Beck Foundation
ABeam Consulting Ltd. Kadoorie Charitable Foundation Brother’s Brother Foundation
Adolf H. Lundin Charitable Foundation Linklaters Credit Suisse
Atlassian Foundation Microsoft Lafarge
Barclays Capital Planet Wheeler Foundation Pearson Longman/Pearson Foundation
Better World Books Prudential Corporation Asia Sabre Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Quintessentially
Bloomberg L.P. Skoll Foundation Scholastic, Inc. Symantec Corporation
The ELMA Foundation Room to Read would like to recognize Credit
Bookoff Corporation Limited
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Suisse for their generous in-kind support of
CAF Australia office space in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo,
Clifford Chance The Warburg Pincus Foundation as well as the Financial Times for providing
Credit Suisse The William and Flora Hewlett office space in New York.
De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek NV Foundation Special thanks to Lafarge for their donation
Deutsche Bank Western Union Foundation and delivery of cement shipments for Room to
Dodge & Cox Investment Managers Zennström Philanthropies Read infrastructure projects and coordination
of book shipments within Zambia.
Dubai Cares

Room to Read embarks on its

next strategic plan to take
the organization into its The chapter network, now totaling over 40, expands
second decade. into Australia, India and the Middle East.
E is for Efficient

Financial Statement
Room to Read is committed to Statement of Activities
maintaining a careful balance For the years ended December 31, 2009 and 2008 (USD)
between its ambitious program
objectives and operating efficiency.
Corporation $4,192,452 $5,449,609
Room to Read has been recognized
Foundation $5,409,025 $2,447,819
for its exceptional fiscal responsibility
Individual $18,302,598 $13,824,299
and financial health, and has
been awarded the coveted Charity School and Other $351,508 $436,610

Navigator 4-star rating each year Donations in Kind $4,557,956 $4,453,739

since 2006. Investment Income/ (Loss) $239,651 $ (278,412)
Other Income $386,797 $12,320
Total Support and Revenue $33,439,987 $26,345,984
Highlights of our 2009
financials include: OPERATING EXPENSES 2009 2008
Program Services
> Robust revenue growth with US$28.3 Library Establishment $5,612,707 $4,388,254
million in cash and stock donations Donated Books and Supplies $4,347,079 $4,309,077
– a 28 percent increase over the prior
School Construction $3,460,638 $2,996,097
year’s total of US$22.2 million; and
US$4.3 million in donations in kind, Girls’ Scholarships $1,278,447 $981,342
primarily children’s books Local Language Publishing $679,326 $631,229
Administrative Expenses $1,794,493 1,224,550
> US$13.1 million raised outside the U.S.
Conferences, Travel and Meeting Costs $1,083,025 $745,477
through foreign fundraising offices,
chapters and affiliates – a 27 percent In-Country Personnel Expenses $2,202,540 $2,084,369
increase over the prior year’s total of Professional Fees $395,536 $724,144
US$10.3 million US and Regional Personnel Expenses $2,685,174 $2,150,145
Total Program Services $23,538,965 $20,234,684
> US$23.5 million invested toward our
Management and General $1,824,427 $1,686,126
programs – a 16 percent increase
over the prior year’s total of US$20.2 Fundraising $3,038,851 $2,280,058
million Total Operating Expenses $28,402,243 $24,200,868

> Programmatic spending constituted ASSETS 2009 2008

83 percent of our total expenses,
Change in Unrestricted Net Assets $1,326,707 $1,416,804
meaning that only 17 cents out of
every dollar spent went toward Change in Temporarily Restricted Net Assets $3,711,037 $728,312
overhead Unrestricted Net Assets at
$6,974,057 $5,557,253
Beginning of the Year
Temporarily Restricted Net Assets at
$7,761,772 $7,033,460
Beginning of the Year
Net Assets at End of the Year $19,773,573 $14,735,829

Room to Read is chosen by the Financial Times
as its seasonal appeal charity and by Twitter
as its first corporate social innovation partner.
2009 2009
Donations by Sources of Revenue
Type of Donor by Region

Individuals 65% Americas 56%

Foundation 19% Asia/Pacific 18%
Corporation 15% Europe 17%
School and Other 1% Middle East/
Africa 9%


2009 Program Functional
Total Expenses Expense Breakdown

Program Services 83% Reading Room Program 59%

Fundraising, Management School Room Program 23%
and General 17% Girls’ Education Program 13%
Local Language
Publishing Program 5%

2010 In its 10th official year, Room to Read

Room to Read sharpens its focus celebrates its “year of tens” with the opening
year of tens to impact literacy and gender of its 10,000th library and the addition of the
equality in education. 10,000th girl to the Girls’ Education program.
C is for Committed

photo credits Cover, pages 2, 17 (bottom), 33: Charlie Bibby for the Financial Times. Pages 1, 8, 9, 14 (left), 17 (bottom): Peter Stuckings. Pages 4, 14 (right), 17 (top): Ben Stansall for the Financial Times. Pages 5, 13 (right), 16, 17:
Board and Staff
Board of Directors Rob Flaherty, President & Senior Partner, Lisa Hogen, Chief Development Officer

Page 20 (right): Andrea McTamaney. Page 21: Andrew Grey. Page 24 (timeline): courtesy of the Clinton Global Initiative. Page 27 (right): Dana Smillie. design: Melanie Doherty Design, illustrations: Julia Rothman
Ketchum, Inc. Dr. Cory Heyman, Strategic Advisor
John Wood (Board Chair), Founder, Room
Addy Loudiadis, Partner, Goldman Sachs Dhir Jhingran, Chief Program Officer
to Read
Melissa J. Ma, Co-Founder & Managing Lori McLeese, Chief People Officer
Christopher S. Beer, Founding Member,
Partner, Asia Alternatives Management
Ironmark Law Group Steven Zimmerman, Chief of Operations
Craig Bruya, Former Chief Financial
Patte McDowell, Founder & Board Chair,
Officer, Microsoft Business Solutions
Cloud 9 Foundation Regional Directors
Jerry del Missier, President, Barclays
Arul Menezes, Principal Software Wiseman Ngwata, Regional Director,
Architect, Microsoft Research Southern Africa
Scott Kapnick, Managing Partner,
Dr. Shirley Miske, President & Senior Dinesh Shrestha, Co-Founder and Regional
Highbridge Capital Management
Consultant, Miske Witt & Human Resources and Administration
Tim Koogle, Former Chief Executive Associates Inc. Director
Officer, Yahoo!
David Monk, Vice President, NERA Mohlago Mary Tsebe, Regional Program
Kim Anstatt Morton Economic Consulting Director, Southern Africa
Dambisa Moyo, Economist and Author, Dr. Karen Mundy, Associate Professor &
“Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and Canada Research Chair, University of Country Directors
How There is a Better Way for Africa” Toronto
Sunisha Ahuja, Country Director, India and
Fernando Reimers, Director of Stasia Obremskey, Chief Financial Officer,
Acting Country Director, Vietnam
International Education Policy, Harvard Posit Science
Graduate School of Education Florence Chibwesha, Zambia Country
M.R. Rangaswami, Co-Founder, Sand Hill
John Ridding, Chief Executive Officer, Group LLC
Financial Times Glenfrey De Mel, Sri Lanka Country
Dr. Carol Knuth Sakoian, Vice President,
Hilary Valentine, Partner, Black & White International Business Development,
Design Scholastic International Zaki Hasan, Bangladesh Country Director

Tim Wood, Director, Mobile Health Kall Kann, Cambodia Country Director
Advisory Board Innovation, Grameen Foundation Christopher Mothupi, South Africa
Melody Zavala, Director, Books for Asia, Country Director
John Bothamley, Founder & Trustee, Four
The Asia Foundation Somphet Phongphachanh, Laos Country
Acre Trust
Ernest Chow, Partner & Founder, Sensato
Capital Management
Management Team Pushkar Shrestha, Nepal Country Director

Dr. Luis Crouch, Vice President, John Wood, Founder & Board Chair
International Development Group, RTI
Erin Ganju, Co-Founder & CEO
Joanne Chou, Chief Financial Officer

Room to Read will reach

2015 more than 10 million
children in over a dozen
envisioning our future countries in the developing

Room to Read believes that World Change Starts with
Educated Children. We envision a world in which all
children can pursue a quality education that enables
them to reach their full potential and contribute to their
community and the world.

Room to Read Global Office • 111 Sutter Street, 16th Floor • San Francisco, CA 94104 • United States • +1 415 561 3331

Room to Read (New York) Room to Read (London) Room to Read (Hong Kong) Room to Read (Japan)
1330 Avenue of the Americas One Cabot Square 22/F International Commerce Centre Izumi Garden Tower 26F
9th Floor London E14 4QJ One Austin Road West 1-6-1 Roppongi Minato-ku
New York, NY 10019 United Kingdom Kowloon Tokyo, 106-6024
United States Hong Kong Japan

We would like to thank Credit Suisse for generously donating office space in London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo as well as the
Financial Times for providing office space in New York.