If you haven't caught up to what I've been up to this month, read about how to start your own volunteering initiative at work, and ideas you can implement at the office. This week, I'll be featuring two of my favorite charities to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving.
Yesterday, I talked about Kiva, and today Room to Read CEO and co-founder, Erin Ganju, will share her story on how her nonprofit is making a difference, one book at a time. The organization sees the education of children as a key factor to escaping poverty, and their team works towards that vision by setting up libraries, schools, and more in countries all over the world.
SavvySugar: What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
Erin Ganju: I had a ton of favorite books that were my favorite. But one of them is certainly Dr. Seuss, who I think is really attractive to young children with all of the great rhymes and fun characters. Green Eggs and Ham in particular was one of my favorites, which is representative of the kind of an icon of an amazing children’s book that everyone refers to. In many ways, Room to Read sees itself as being able to create similar stories. We often say we want to be the Dr. Seuss of the developing world. Because it’s just that idea of making reading fun, exciting, to draw a child in, and make it about reading for enjoyment. That’s what I think is the classic Dr. Seuss experience kids should have.
SS: Who is your female role model?
EG: I always say that my best role model has been my mom. She definitely was a trailblazer in her own time. She was one of the first thousand members of the Peace Corp volunteers in the early sixties under Kennedy, and prior to that in the late fifties, she taught English in Japan, so she really was very internationally minded at a young age and in a time when it was very unusual in the US. So I kind of gained a lot of my love for the world around me and being a global trail blazer from my mom. I also look up to strong women like Madeline Albright who broke through many glass ceilings in her own time as the first Secretary of State. She really set a different tone for the fact that women can be a part of the conversation at the leadership level in the world. When you look at the 190 countries in the world, only 15 of them have heads of states that are women, the last time I checked. Eleven of them are in the developing world. So in many ways, I always tell Room to Read investors that it’s probably more likely that some of the girls in our girls education program in developing countries may grow up to be presidents of their own countries than it probably is for our own daughters.
To hear more about her vision for Room to Read's future, read on!