About my charity project -100 Girls Back to School

Trip Start Oct 08, 2007
Trip End Dec 16, 2008

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Monday, September 3, 2007

I'm about to start my trip through Tibet, Nepal, India, China, South East Asia, Australasia, South America, and East Africa. It will be amazing, it will be exhausting, it will be inspiring and it will be for the most parts cheap. It will be cheap, partially because I'm backpacking, but mostly because I'm backpacking through some amazingly beautiful, but really poor countries. I'll be the lucky privileged westerner (although I'm really from the east) that will be having a great vacation time, while people around me will be scrambling to make a living on less than $1 a day. Having traveled to similar places in the past, I had found it very difficult to ignore the kids that rush to collect my beer can as soon as I empty it, or the "fellow" travelers that are bluntly exploring the "sex trail". I no longer want to be a helpless observer.
I came across a book that was written by a guy by the name of John Wood. Long story short, one day John quit his high flying job at Microsoft and started Room to Read, a non-profit organization that builds schools and libraries, and provides long term scholarships to girls in Southeast Asia, India and Nepal. Since its inception in 2000, Room to Read has impacted the lives of over 1.3 million children.
I find the idea of empowering local communities by helping them help themselves compelling. Room to Read does a great job of combining fund rasing efforts in the west and the commited involvement of the local communities. It is also a very result driven, no non-sense organization. Its branch Room to Grow provides long term scholarships to girls. Over of all illiterate adults in the world are female. When a family hits a rough financial patch, girls are the first one to drop out of school and be send to work, married off or even pushed into prostitution. It only takes $250 per year, to allow a girl to get back to school!
Room to Read is a very efficient charity. They have kept their overhead below 10%, so over 90% of all funds raised actually made it to the people in need. This is the list of benefits for girls on scholarship.  All are included in the 125 pounds ($250) per year cost:  
      * Monthly school fees
      * School uniforms
      * Books, stationary, and backpacks
      * Female Room to Read staff member to oversee the program and mentor the girls
      * Additional tutoring as needed
      * Transportation (such as a bicycle or bus fare) for girls living far from school
      * Lunch money if the girls live too far from school to eat at home
      * Medical check-ups and expenses
      * Field trips and workshops
During my one year of travel, I am hoping to raise enough money to put at least 100 girls back in school. Why 100? It is a nice round number and you should start somewhere. So in lieu of any farewell presents, please support my appeal "100 Girls Back to School". Even a very small contribution will make a huge difference in a real person's life.
The best way to donate is online - it saves processing cost + in UK your money will go longer way, as there is a tax benefit that can be claimed automatically. Just click here: http://www.justgiving.com/100GirlsBacktoSchool
If you want to learn more about Room to Read you can always check out their website: http://www.roomtoread.org/.

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