Today—National Philanthropy Day—and every day, we are so pleased to celebrate our relationship with Symantec.
“I am the first person in my family to be educated,” said Anita, a graduate of Room to Read’s Girls’ Education program. “I felt very proud when I was able to read some documents for my father recently and prevent us from being cheated by our neighbors. Perhaps this was the day when my father too realized the value of my education. He told my mother that he was proud of me.”
Anita had to fight for her parents’ blessing when completing secondary school and again when pursuing a university education. Anita’s parents came close to forcing her to drop out of school in the 9th grade to prepare for marriage, but with the help of Room to Read, teachers, and friends, she was able to convince her parents of the importance of her education. Now in her final year at a university in Delhi, Anita looks forward to having her own career and family. After completing the program, Anita said that she will ensure that her future daughter will have the same opportunities as her future son.
Room to Read’s mission is to reach students like Anita and empower them to receive the quality education they deserve. There are 774 million illiterate people in the world today; two-thirds are female and over 90 percent live in developing countries. Room to Read works in ten countries across Asia and Africa to promote literacy and gender equality in education, and our programs provide primary and secondary school children with the tools, resources, and instruction necessary to complete secondary school. Through strong partnerships with investors like Symantec, we have benefited almost eight million children in their pursuit of a quality education.
We are so thankful that since 2008, Symantec has invested crucial support to Room to Read through our School Libraries and Girls’ Education programs in Sri Lanka and India. Together, we are proud of what we have accomplished for hundreds of communities. Symantec's investment in our Girls’ Education program includes providing 160 Sri Lankan girls and 382 Indian girls with support for their education, so they can complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions. In addition, Symantec has ensured the establishment of 127 school libraries across India which will impact approximately 22,800 children! This reach extends even further to thousands of family and community members who see first-hand how their children are transformed through the power of education.
Additionally, Symantec has helped us scale through the expansion into new regions in need. Through Symantec's funding, Room to Read was able to launch programs in Maharashtra, India—first in Mumbai city and later this year into Raigad. This expansion has allowed us to reach 106 needy schools with libraries, training and quality reading materials that will serve thousands of students during three years of Room to Read support!
Finally, we are thankful for Symantec's commitment to help us more deeply engage with our larger donor community. Through the company's sponsorship of galas in Tokyo and Mumbai, we were able to leverage Symantec's generous investments to raise even more funding for our programs around the world.
Room to Read is thrilled to see the sheer number of children using the Symantec libraries, and the girls who are succeeding further every day because of Symantec's support.
Thank you for all you do for the children on our programs!
Dr. Geetha Murali is Chief Development Officer for Room to Read.