Statistics show that 115 million school-age children do not go to school, and an estimated 770 million people (about 1/7th the world’s population) do not have basic literacy skills. Out of these statistics, women make up 2/3rds, which becomes a problem because usually women teach children. What is being done about this? Individuals in the developed world are using their resources and knowledge to find ways to help the children of the world become literate. Rich countries are setting up projects to bring literacy to poorer countries.
One example of this is Room to Read, a nonprofit organization founded by Microsoft marketing executive John Wood. In 1998, Wood’s job brought him to Nepal, where he witnessed the tremendous lack of schools and books. He had grown up with a love of books and reading, and his education in business led to his understanding of the importance magnitude of global literacy. Because of this, he generated a model for obtaining results in literacy programs. Room to Read donates to building schools, libraries, and computer labs in countries such as Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, and Zambia. It has built more than 5,100 libraries since its beginning in 2000. It utilizes Microsoft-era marketing techniques such as email and online donations. Room to Read is a classic example of how a few American dollars can go a long way in underdeveloped countries.