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Room To Read Fundraiser Tonight

Proceeds go to promote education scholarships for girls, local language children’s books, and library construction in India

By Ashley Moreno, 11:17AM, Thu. Oct. 15, 2009

Room To Read Fundraiser Tonight

This evening (10/15), from 6-10pm, Room to Read will host a fundraising dinner at the Clay Pit featuring contemporary Indian cuisine, dance, and music. Proceeds go to promote education scholarships for girls, local language children’s books, and library construction in India.

John Wood, author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, started Books for Nepal, which would grow into Room to Read, back in 2000. The current organization seeks to end the cycle of poverty through providing education opportunities to girls, constructing and stocking branch libraries and schools, and supplying local-language children’s books to remote and developing areas – primarily in Africa and Asia. Tung Huynh, founder of the Austin chapter, met Wood in 2006 when Wood came to Austin to promote his book and the Room to Read organization. “Education has always been a core part of my upbringing, and I wanted to find a nonprofit that was focused on overcoming socioeconomic conditions by way of education,” says Huynh. “When I first reached out to what was Books for Nepal (later became Room to Read), I was pleasantly surprised when John Wood, the founder of Room to Read, personally responded to one of my inquiries to volunteer.”

Since its inception last year, the Austin chapter has grown its support base to around 150 people. “We operate at zero cost, and are strictly volunteer-based,” says current chapter leader Sherrie Nguyen. Their last event, a Mother’s Day-themed fundraiser at Thanh Nhi Vietnamese restaurant in north Austin, raised $6,500. That translates into 26 years of education scholarships for girls in Vietnam. “It’s pretty traditional that the women stay around the household and raise the kids,” says Nguyen. “By educating girls, we set the precedent that their daughters will get to go to school as well. Right now, if there is a decision to be made, then only the boys in the house will stay in school.”

Tonight they hope to exceed their May efforts and raise $20,000 for local libraries and language programs in India. Tickets are $40, and there is a cash bar with 75% of those proceeds going to Room to Read as well. To buy tickets go here.

If you can’t make it tonight, then they’re hosting a “Beer for Books” fundraiser at Lavaca Street Bar later this month. For each beer you buy, the bar will donate $1 to Room to Read, which equates to one book for a child in a developing nation. For more information on this, the organization, and other upcoming events visit the Room to Read website here or join their group on Facebook here.

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