In January 2000, an exciting piece of news showed up in my mailbox in San Francisco, courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service.
Exciting news? From the IRS? Actually, yes. Inside that envelope was the news that my dream had been realized -– the approval of incorporation for a new and badly-named charity called Books for Nepal.
Ten years later, the organization now known as Room to Read has achieved far more than I ever dreamed possible. Thanks to the passion and dedication of so many of us who believe that World Change Starts with Educated Children, we are now able to celebrate what we think of as “the year of tens.”
During our ten year anniversary year, we will grow our Girls’ Education program so that it supports the education of over 10,000 girls. We have already opened our 1,000th school, and quite soon -– in fact just next week -– we will celebrate the opening of our 10,000th Reading Room library!
As a person whose life was profoundly influenced by the libraries in my school and my home town, I cannot think of a happier set of numbers than these: over 4 million children visiting 10,000 libraries stocked with over 7 million books.
The 10,000th Reading Room celebration will take place on April 30, back in the place where it all began: Nepal. Along with a small group of Room to Read investors, we will experience the history of Room to Read by doing a “check up" visit to the first school we opened, along with that first library in the village of Bahundanda. We will then celebrate the 10,000th Reading Room milestone on the outskirts of Pokhara, in the shadow of the Annapurna mountain range. While there, we will make our vow to continue bringing books, libraries, and the lifelong gift of education to even more children during our second decade.
Along the way, as much as we can get out to you, our team will be blogging, Tweeting, FLIPing, Facebook posting, taking photographs, and pretty much doing everything short of sending you a personal voicemail in order to share the excitement of this trip.
And, thanks to all your RT’s on our #tweet4books promoted Twitter campaign and thanks to the generous donation by Breadpig (@breadpig), we’ve raised the equivalent of over 3,600 books that will fully stock our 10,000th library. I look forward to carrying in some of my favorite Nepali local language children’s titles like Tommy Tempo or Dorje and Bhakku and handing those over to the children who are eagerly awaiting the opening of their new library.
We will announce new blog posts from Nepal via these Twitter accounts. We hope you will not only follow us, but also share the news and excitement with friends, family, co-workers, and potential chapter members and investors.
We will look forward to updating you, live from the Himalayas!
With warmest regards,