Interview Profiles

Room to Read – Social Giving on

A profile and interview with Room to Read, a charity that promotes literacy outreach in Africa and Asia.

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Room To Read LogoRoom to Read is a global organization seeking to transform the lives of millions of children in the developing world by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Founded on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children, Room to Read works in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and to ensure girls have the skills and support needed to complete their secondary education.  Since 2000, Room to Read has impacted the lives of more than five million children in Asia and Africa and aims to reach 10 million children by 2015. Learn more at

To get more details about this awesome charity, we interviewed Nicole Rigg, the Development Associate at Room to Read:

How long have you worked here?
Two amazing years

What drew you to work with Room to Read?
I worked on a project in Cambodia at a school in which Room to Read established a library. They did an amazing job working with the community to train teachers and establish the library in a manner that was relevant and suited the cultural context. I thought to myself at the time, “I should remember these guys.” When I moved back to the United States I did, because I wanted to work for an organization that I had proof was delivering the results they said they were.

What’s the best part of working there?
Tough question – overall it is knowing that as challenging as things can get or as busy as I am, it is because we are having such a huge impact on communities across Asia and Africa. What keeps me going when I have a proposal to finish late on Friday night are the amazing people I work with. I have never worked at a company or organization where each and every staff member is exceptional and excels at what they do.

How long has the program been around?
The idea for Room to Read was sparked in 1999 when our Founder took a trek in Nepal. In 2000 we were officially registered.

What is one of your more successful campaigns/programs?
I probably shouldn’t choose a favorite, but I am drawn to our Local Language Publishing program. Shortly after we began establishing libraries in Nepal we realized that there weren’t even enough books in the local language to fill a library to the standards we wanted! I grew up in a very small town and books were my way of learning about the world. I can’t imagine a life without them. We developed our Local Language Publishing program to solve the dearth of children’s books that were local, and culturally- and age-appropriate. We work with local authors and illustrators across 8 countries (soon to be 10) to develop their skills into those needed to publish children’s books (in 25 languages) that not only teach children how to read, but also inspire imaginations and creativity, because if children enjoy reading, they will develop the habit which is essential to becoming a literate adult.

Is there any new program that you’d like to draw focus towards?
Right now our country teams across Asia and Africa are working extremely hard to develop our Literacy Instruction program which is in its pilot phase. One of the unfortunate realities that we have learned from our constant monitoring and evaluation is that many of the students who have access to our libraries can’t read or are not at grade level. This is a different type of program for Room to Read. Our Literacy Instruction pilots focus on training teachers and supplementing the government curriculum for an ultimate outcome of increasing literacy, whereas traditionally we have focused on project-based results such as libraries, schools, books, etc. It fits in so perfectly with our work that it will really increase our impact.


Are there any stats that our customers should know about your organization?
95: books per minute that children checked out of Room to Read libraries across Asia and Africa last year
Every 18 hours: how often Room to Read establishes a library
1,450: number of schools we have built
12,522: number of libraries established
591: number of children’s book titles created and published
10 million: number of books distributed
12,667: number of girls’ supported through our Girls’ Education program
6 million: number of children benefited since 2000

I think it is important to add that we evaluate what is behind these numbers. We constantly collect information to improve our programs and ask for grants, such as those from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to externally evaluate our work so that we have objective opinions on what we are doing right and what we can improve.

Biblio is proud to support Room to Read and other literacy campaigns via our “Round Up For Reading” campaign, with the assistance of Beanstalk Giving!  Buy a book and support global literacy today!

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