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Room to Read During COVID-19

Room to Read India - boy reading bookRaven Supply works with a number of local and international organizations to support the wellbeing of our communities and raise awareness of initiatives that are important to us. This includes our work with the global education non-profit Room to Read, whom we donate a portion of our profits to each year.

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, we were saddened to learn that over 1.5 billion children and youth are out of school, including vulnerable children in the 16 countries in which Room to Read operates. Girls are especially at risk; with local and nationwide school closures, many girls have dropped out of school and gotten married.

Room to Read Cambodia - girl holding school booksRoom to Read is supporting children in continuing their studies, by adopting new ways of delivering education. Classes and life skills workshops are being broadcasted through radio and TV in areas without internet, print materials and worksheets are being distributed to local communities, and book supply chains have been expanded to reach children who cannot visit libraries.

For those with access to the internet, Room to Read has launched a free online learning platform, digitizing 900 book titles and read-aloud videos for all levels and in up to 12 languages. It also houses a plethora of resources for teachers, book creators, publishers and governments.

Room to Read Nepal - girl reading by treeWithin the Girls’ Education Program, girls are now receiving phone support and mentoring. An early warning system has also been revised, which helps local staff to identify girls whom are at risk of dropping out of school early.

Lastly, through remote training and workshops, Room to Read is continuing to provide professional development to local teachers and authors and illustrators.

Many of these new paths to learning have been fast tracked but will continue to benefit childhood literacy and education for years to come. They are enabling us to reach even more children, including those whose access to education is restricted by weather or location.

Room to Read Vietnam - teacher writing on chalk boardRaven Supply is committed to our goal of raising $20,000 for Room to Read this year, to provide 50 scholarships to girls in Vietnam. For every discount that we receive from a vendor, and every contribution made by a customer, we are matching it with an equal donation. Thus far, we have raised over $13,574 and no doubt together, we can reach our goal by end of year.

You can learn more about our work with Room to Read here.

A New Year and A New Opportunity for Global Literacy

Schoolgirls at a Room to Read project in Vietnam. Photo credit: Room to Read

The New Year is always a time for reflection and setting new goals. This year, for 2020, we are setting our sights on building on the momentum of years’ past and do even more to support Room to Read.

Room to Read is an international NGO that promotes literacy in the developing world. The organization’s multi-pronged approach includes opening up school libraries, providing teacher training, publishing in language children’s books, and running community-lead interventions designed to keep young women in school and out of child marriage.

Every year, we pick one Room to Read project country to support. We make it easy for our community of vendors and customers to join in these efforts through matching donation drives and other initiatives. Last year, we hit a major fundraising milestone, with a grand total of $200,000 being raised since 2013 for Room to Read’s projects in 16 countries around the world.

This year, we’ve decided to centre our efforts on raising enough to send 50 girls to school in Vietnam. At one time, Vietnam was considered one of the poorest countries in the world. Today, this country in South East Asia is in a period of growth and development, but with this growth comes a widening gap between children who can afford to attend school and children who can’t.

Photo Credit: Room to Read Vietnam

In 2020, we’re aiming to raise $20,000 towards school scholarships to allow 50 young Vietnamese women to make the most of their changing economy.

Our Inside Sales Engineer Merinda Widmer lead us in the decision to support Room to Read Vietnam because of the organization’s excellent track record in the country. In 2015, Room to Read successfully influenced advances in the country’s national education policy. Last year, Room to Read partnered with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education to launch a targeted program to build and stock school libraries in the country. Room to Read also continues to train local social mobilizers that support girls and young women in low-income areas through life skills training and other programs designed to keep them in school.

Merinda will go to Vietnam in 2021 to see our fundraising efforts in action. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on how you can join us in making sure that children around the world have the reading skills they need to succeed!

The 9 Year old Girl who Started her own Library.

Room To Read recently tracked down Muskaan Ahirwar, a third-standard student who started her own library called “Bal Pustakalaya” meaning Children’s Library in a small slum in Bhopal, India.

This motivated young woman opens up Bal Pastakalaya every day after school where she has dozens of children come by from a nearby low-income neighborhood and listen to her read.

This is yet another moving story on how education can change the lives of many children in the developing parts of the world. Also showing the importance of Room to Reads’ “Girls Education Program”. Muskaan is pictured with a smile on her face, very proud of her accomplishments.

This Library is located nearby Ravens 2015 project of providing 50 girls with a 1-year scholarship as well as a library.

Check out the whole article from Buzz Feed here.

Meeting with Chief Innovation Officer

Today, Brian and Ashley traveled to the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver to meet with Cory Heyman Ph.D. (Chief Innovation Officer, Executive Director, and Room to Read Accelerator) & Sharon Davis (Vancouver Room to Read Chapter). Cory was in Vancouver for an Education Conference in which he was speaking. We met with him for a breakfast meeting and learned all about involvement in Room to Read and their plans for the future to ensure that even more children in the developing world have access to quality education in the future.

From left to right: Ashley, Brian, Cory, Sharon.

 

2015 Initiative Complete

Raven Supply has handed over the $25,500 raised last year by Raven Supply, their vendors, and customers. The funds raised in 2015 will go towards filling a library with books, puzzles, and other learning materials. We also fundraised to provide 50 girls in India with a one-year scholarship. This provides them with workbooks, backpacks and other supplies they need to succeed as well as support from within the community. Room-to-Read’s in-country staff, provide continuous support for these girls and ensure they are continuing to attend school.

 

Room to Read 2014 Initiative Launch Report

Raven Supply is proud to announce our 2014 fundraising initiative has been implemented! Our 2014 project was creating a literate school community. This included filling a library with books, puzzles, and other educational materials. Also providing instruction to grade 1 teachers, as well as Library training. We also fundraised with our contractors to fill an additional library in Nepal!

Please see the following document for a detailed description of these projects: 2014 Project Launch Report

Cambodia 2016

Raven Supply is happy to announce that the location of its 2016 fundraising initiative for Room to Read is Cambodia. We do not yet have the details on what we will be funding for, whether it be a school, library, scholarships or teacher training, but we cannot wait to start our 4th year of contributing to such a great cause. Keep posted for upcoming announcements!

Room to Read Global Fact Sheet
Our Work in Cambodia

Room to Read Initiative Update

Raven Supply was very excited to meet with Annie Place of Room to Read this month! She works on West Coast initiatives and recently joined the Room to Read team. She was in town to meet with a few donors in the Vancouver Area. Thanks to all Ravens Vendors and Customers that have participated in our fundraising initiatives since 2013 in Nepal and India for putting us on the Room to Read map!

Annie will be keeping us connected with Room to Read and providing us with our 2016 Room to Read initiative options!

Ashleys Trip to Nepal – Shree Madan Asrit Lower Secondary School

Raven Supply sent my sister Gabrielle and me to Palpa, Nepal to go and see our 2013 Room to Read project. The trip was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

It began rather exciting with dance-off with the locals, natural rock climbing up to a tower & a beautiful sunset view before they took us back to our hotel for the evening. The next morning we all loaded into the jeep and headed 2.5-3hrs further up the mountain, on a very interesting road that barely fit one car, we learned very quickly the horn is the most important part on a car on that side of the world.

When we got to the school we were greeted by the schools’ principal, vice principal and in-country director as well as the entire school. They then gave us flowers & a powder on our foreheads and we went to cut the ribbon to the library and classroom that were constructed. It was such an amazing experience. We then sat in on a grade 1 class for about one hour & watched the students and teacher interact (no English was used in this school); from what we could tell the class was being instructed just as a class would be back in Canada. The teaching styles, getting students to sound out words, practicing and encouraging the students. Also, the look on their faces when they were getting rewarded in front of these strange guests was adorable!

After sitting in the grade one class we went to the library with the grade 5 class. They read together for a bit, then the race was on over to the new bookshelves to pick out a book that they would be taking home for the remainder of the week. We were shown the book checkout system and the library schedule and were told by the teacher that they were so happy with the library because it has put their school on a higher level than even some schools in Kathmandu with the number of resources they have now. They then got one of the students to read aloud while Gabrielle and I repeated what we thought we heard, getting a lot of laughs in between. They then asked me to do the same, I do admit they were much better at this than we were.

The experience Raven and Room to Read gave my sister and I was one that we will remember for the rest of our lives. It has also reassured me that what we are doing is making a huge impact on these communities, giving these children access to education and the chance for a better future.