Hi, my name is Erin Ganju, and I am a co-founder of Room to Read.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself.
I have always loved to read. In fact, Dr. Seuss’s children’s books were my favourite and I still keep them in my shelves today. Reading filled my imagination and gave me inspiration since childhood that still impacts me today.
I can only think of a few things that are more powerful than a book.
Though many of the people around us enjoy the luxury of having access to libraries and books everyday, that is not the case for the vast majority of people around the world.
Please consider the following statistics:
759 million people cannot read or write
98% live in the developing world ...view middle of the document...
That is when I found out about John’s new program, which was called Books for Nepal. We met, combined our ideas, and together we launched Room to Read.
We made it big and it became the new project that I am most passionate about. It became the next big chapter in my life.
It was a simple idea. We started off by partnering with schools to establish public libraries. We printed off books so we made sure the children had a print safe environment for learning. We trained teachers so that we make sure the children receive a proper education that is appropriate in both intellectual and cultural context. We also encouraged and helped girls stay in school and receive proper educations that they deserve as a human right as a lot of girls in many third world countries do not.
I think this quote by Nelson Mandela describes education perfectly.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Room to Read motto: World change starts with educated children
One of our programs that we first developed was:
Language Publication Program
It was a risk we took when we first launched this program
The challenge in the developing world that we heard from is that the children wanted more books that are in the local language from the local cultures. But when we went to find these books in the local markets, we could not find any to buy.
So how do we provide culturally relevant and sensitive books for children?
We train local teachers and illustrators to create quality books that are both culturally and contextually relevant for children.
The best part about these books, is they are actually popular among children.
We have published 1029 books in the most recent update
We’re Building local capacity of authors and illustrators through workshops and we’re able to sustain a program and a children’s books industry.
Here’s a video we made for the program that will help you further understand what we do. We have videos that include interviews, narratives, and information for each specific program spread over Youtube and many other social media sites.
I am proud to say that this program is a big success and we have received numerous awards from this program, including:
Nepalese Society for Children's Literature Award: 2004, 2005, 2009
Laos Book Excellence Award for Local Language Publishing: 2007, 2008, 2010
South Asian Journalists Association "Outstanding Story on Any Subject: New Media" Award for "Nepal: A Girls' Life": 2008
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Confucius Prize for Literacy: 2011
UNICEF's "Best Early Childhood Development Publication of the Year" Award (South Africa): 2011