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Raven Supply Sets Goal to Fundraise 50 Girls Scholarships in Laos

Girl student walking to schoolRaven Supply has set a goal this year to fundraise $20,000 to provide girls in Laos with scholarships. Through the global education non-profit Room to Read, the funds will support and mentor 50 girls in country to stay in school.

We chose to benefit the country of Laos based on their considerable needs. Although primary and secondary schools in Laos are free and literary rates are rising, many schools lack appropriate reading materials, quality classrooms and have limited training for teachers.

Laos is a relatively small nation with the youngest population of any country in Asia; half the population is under the age of 18 years. Furthermore, 64% live in rural areas where poverty is concentrated and schools are difficult to reach, with many children having to walk long distances to attend class. Schools in these areas may lack infrastructure such as roads, electricity and sanitation.

Students reading in front of classroomIt is also an immensely diverse country, with an estimated 237 ethnic groups and over 80 languages spoken. Children of ethnic minority groups who do not speak Lao at home face a language barrier in the classroom and can struggle to stay in school, especially those living in rural areas.

Girls are at a higher risk of not finishing their education. They can experience pressure to marry early or to help with household duties rather than attend school. Nine percent of girls are married before the age of 15 and 35% before the age of 18. In the population over the age of 15, the literacy rate for women and girls is 10% lower than their male counterparts.

Girl studying with familyRoom to Read works with the Laotian government to improve infrastructure, provide access to quality learning materials and support students in underserved communities who are at the greatest risk of dropping out of school. More than 600,000 children in country to date have benefited from their Literacy and Girls’ Education Programs.

Despite ongoing health outbreaks and intermittent school closures during the pandemic, they continue to support students in their Girls’ Education Program. In 2020, over 5,000 individual remote mentoring sessions were delivered, and over 470 girls received direct messages in support of their education goals. By the end of the year, 96.5% of program participants had returned to school.

Girl student in fieldIn 2021, they provided individual and group mentorship through both online sessions and at home visits. Through these efforts, Room to Read learned that many Girls’ Education Program participants experience risk factors for not returning to school, including poverty, pressure to perform paid labour and pressure to pursue marriage.

Raven Supply is aspiring to provide 50 girls in Laos with the opportunity to complete their secondary education. We know that girls who complete secondary school are more likely to have smaller and healthier families, earn more income and educate their children—thereby ending the cycle of poverty.

Since 2013, Raven Supply has been a proud supporter of Room to Read. We do this with the generous help of our friends and vendors; for every discount that we receive from a vendor, we match it dollar to dollar in a donation. We also match donations made by our customers. Over the years, we have contributed over $250,000 to fund education projects across several developing countries. You can learn more about our work with Room to Read here.

Raven Continues Supporting Local Schools During COVID-19

Since 2015, Raven Supply has been supporting two local schools in Surrey, helping vulnerable elementary and secondary school students in need to succeed in their academic and personal lives.

At the Bridgeview Elementary School, Raven’s contribution to the after-school BLAST program is allowing more students to explore art, science and sport-related activities in a safe space. The program is reaching students who normally cannot access extracurricular activities, alongside students in need of academic support and those who need encouragement in building positive relationships. Throughout the year, the engaging program, which also provides snacks and invites community partners in to teach on various topics, has been boosting the self-esteem and school engagement of participating students.

Raven’s contribution to the Emergency Fund at Frank Hurt Secondary School has continued throughout the pandemic, ensuring that all students have the support that they need to succeed in school and move towards graduation. The funds are being used to buy textbooks and school supplies, provide skills and career training and pay for graduation commencement fees. Gift cards and transit passes are also purchased for students and families in need.

In addition to the regular support that Raven provides to both schools, we also contributed an additional $5000 during COVID-19 school closures to ensure that lunch programs continued for students who relied on them.

Raven is committed to giving back to the community, including donating a portion of our profits to enhance the school experience of students at these two schools. We are pleased to learn that through these school programs, children and youth in need are receiving the tools required to excel academically and continue onto paths of success.

Raven Surpasses Fundraising Goal for Room to Read

Girl reading work book in classroomAs we approach the end of the year, we are happy to announce that we have surpassed our 2020 fundraising goal to provide 50 scholarships to girls in Vietnam through global education non-profit Room to Read. We had set a goal of $20,000, and with your support, we exceeded this target and have fundraised and donated a total of $30,077.

We were also able to take advantage of a matching campaign during this month’s Giving Tuesday. Through Room to Read’s generous match partners, our contribution was tripled to $90,231, enabling us to provide even more girls with life-changing education.

Girls walking outside classroomSince 2013, we have partnered with Room to Read’s Vancouver Chapter to donate a portion of our profits to benefit childhood literacy and education. For every discount that we receive from a vendor or customer, we match this with an equal donation. Including this year’s funds, we have now contributed over $210,000. This is before any donation matching, which we make sure to take advantage of every year.

Girl holding book in libraryRoom to Read is changing the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Despite the pandemic closing schools in many areas this year, they continued reaching children in their programs by adopting new ways of delivering education. This included launching a digital library, broadcasting through radio and TV, distributing print materials, expanding their book supply chains and providing phone mentorship to girls.

Thank you to all our vendors, customers and supporters who helped us to achieve this result—we couldn’t have done it without you. This contribution is helping girls to stay in school and bridge the gender gap in education. Please keep your eyes out for news on how we will be supporting Room to Read in the new year. We hope that you will join us.

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