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Wednesday, October 14 • 6:15pm - 6:45pm
Room to Read

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The Room to Read story began in 1998, with a trek to Nepal and a chance encounter that led John Wood to a local school. While looking at the school's dismal library - a dog-eared Lonely Planet, a couple of Danielle Steel bodice rippers - the 35-year-old Wood was told: "We're too poor to afford an education. But until we have an education, we'll always be poor." That terrible catch-22 poverty trap hit Wood hard, and when the headmaster asked if he might return one day with some books, Wood knew that he would. Six months later, he was back with his dad and 3,000 books, carried on the backs of donkeys. He hasn't looked back.

"We live in a world where over 200 million kids woke up this morning and didn't go to school, where 780 million people are illiterate. Two thirds of who are girls and women. If we don't change that, then nothing changes.

"I looked at this and took a 'go big or go home' mentality - if I'm going to give up millions of dollars to devote my life to this, I'm not going to do it on a small scale. It has to be on a massive scale, otherwise, personally, it's not worth doing," says Wood.

The idea of scaling was one of the most important lessons he brought with him from the business world and his nine years at Microsoft. It's what makes Room to Read stand out. "In the US there are 1.2 million charities and 90 per cent of them operate on a budget of less than US$300,000. They stay small," explains Wood.

Room to Read's growth comes down to two key factors: costs are kept low and the local community is always committed to every project.

Hear the Room to Read story and how they are reshaping education.

avatar for John Wood

John Wood

Founder, Room to Read
John Wood is the founder of Room to Read, an organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children.® Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.At age 35, John... Read More →

Wednesday October 14, 2015 6:15pm - 6:45pm PDT
Taj - Aura Vivanta by Taj, Yeswantpur, Bangalore, 560022

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