Discover Room to Read

Working as a bookseller in The Notting Hill Bookshop I am lucky to be surrounded by enthusiasm and passion for books on a daily basis. Wanting to share this energy I began to volunteer for Room to Read, a charity that supports global literacy and gender equality in the developing world. By building schools and libraries and publishing local language books it encourages a habit of reading and supports programs that keep girls in school longer.

It all started in 1998 when John Woods, a burnt-out executive at Microsoft took a three-week holiday to Nepal. On one of his treks, he was invited into a local school, where the headmaster showed him the cabinet where the few precious books the school owned were locked away. As he left the village, the headmaster made a simple request: “Perhaps, Sir, you will someday come back with books?” John promised to return the next year with more books. He spent the year gathering childrens books and then, accompanied by his father, returned to the school to deliver them. The reaction was overwhelming – and prompted John to leave Microsoft and dedicate himself to the small task of changing the world. Firmly believing that world change starts with educating children, John began in Nepal, constructing schools and libraries, and the following year spread to Vietnam, then Cambodia, then beyond. Room to Read now works in ten countries across Asia and Africa, has established over 17,000 libraries and has helped almost nine million children. It has a special Girls’ Education programme, and publishes books in local languages, which engages (and employs) a large cross-section of every community.

The London branch of Room to Read would be extremely grateful of any support you can give. Whether it’s time or money, or both. On Thursday 23rd April the charity is hosting a quiz night and is looking for donations from organisations to support this event in the form of some goods or a voucher for a raffle, to raise additional funds on the evening. If you, or your business feel that you could provide donations then please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]

For more information about the organisation and volunteer opportunities, please visit:

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