In the spirit of the holiday, I thought today would be a good time to make another plug for my favorite charity, Room to Read. You might recall that last December, I donated the cost of a year of secondary school education for a promising Cambodian girl. In many rural districts in Cambodia, less than 5% of girls have the opportunity to complete secondary school, and only 25% of women know how to read and write. It's vital to these communities that young girls achieve literacy, for with education comes greater prosperity for their families, and the opportunity to pass down their knowledge to their own children when they become mothers.
Last year, I also convinced my company to fund the construction of a children's library in Cambodia through Room to Read. The library has just been completed in a small village on the Mekong Delta called Chheu Teal Srot Kraom, and you can see pictures of children exploring their newly widened horizons at our website.
This year, I have donated another year for a Cambodian girl's education. Maybe she will become a doctor who returns to heal her community, or an engineer who brings clean drinking water into her village for the first time, or a teacher who gives the gift of literacy to hundreds of children. She could turn out to be a novelist, poet or painter, lifting the hearts of a weary people struggling through a 30-year recovery from one of the worst genocides the world has ever known. Perhaps she will grow into a leader, and find a new way forward for her people which benefits the neediest, rather than the most powerful.
If you are interested in creating a brighter world by funding literacy and education in underdeveloped nations, you can target your donation through Room to Read toward the country and educational focus you find most appealing.
Wishing everyone a very happy year to come!