At Room to Read, we are constantly inspired by the creative, clever and sometimes crazy ways that individuals find to raise funds and awareness for our programs—from bake sales to book swaps, marathons to mountain climbing, we have seen it all!
This year in particular, Room to Read supporters around the globe are turning to endurance events to galvanize support for our mission in their communities. Over the next few months, adrenaline-fueled teams from Hong Kong, Sydney, Switzerland and New York City will run, walk, bike and climb their way to world change. Here are a few of those extraordinary stories:
In 2009—the year Room to Read’s first Australian chapter was established in Sydney—a few volunteers decided to run the City2Surf 14-kilometer race as s social activity. In 2010, they took it to the next level, gathering a team of more than 100 runners who raised over AU$30,000 for two straight years.
This year, the team—dubbed the Yak Pack (in honor of our good friend Zak the Yak)—is at it again, and has even recruited a local celebrity to join them for this year’s race on August 12. Actor Pacharo Mzembe ran across the entire continent of Australia earlier this year to raise funds and awareness for literacy, and now he’s putting his running shoes back on to join the Yack Pack in their fourth year at the City2Surf. “I'm all about showing my appreciation for the quality education I received having come from a developing nation,” said Pacharo. “There are children around the world who are not afforded the same opportunity."
Inspired by their counterparts Down Under, a few members of the Room to Read Zurich Chapter assembled their own Yak Pack this year to run the Jungfrau Marathon in the Swiss Alps. In addition to longtime friends of Room to Read, some of our very own staff will participate in the event, including founder John Wood and regional director for Asia Jon Beaulieu!
The steepest race of its kind, the course of the Jungfrau Marathon includes more than a mile of elevation. In order to keep motivated, the team has challenged themselves to raise enough money for at least one year of girls’ education for each kilometer they run, or as John Wood puts it, "no matter how much pain we're in, each kilometer we'll think to ourselves, 'one more girl goes to school.'"
After reading John Wood’s book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, Ashwin Subramaniam of Singapore knew he wanted to make a difference, but wasn’t sure how. The answer came in the form of a bicycle, which he will ride across Vietnam this November—along with 15 others—in support of Room to Read's Girls’ Education program.
Winding up the Vietnamese coast from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, Ashwin and his fellow travelers will hit the road for nine days and document their journey on film. "This idea was born out of my dual passions for adventure sports and social development," says Ashwin.
Inspired to start your own campaign for Room to Read? Find out how!