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The Success So Far: The Room to Read Starter License Program

Here at Tempo we have been looking for ways on how to engage our community locally through a mentorship program for young women interested in working within tech industry. But this effort is a faint echo of the amazing work being done by Room to Read - a program focused on improving literacy and access to schooling in developing countries, with a particular focus on empowering young women by providing them with much-needed academic opportunities.

Our contributions to Room to Read so far have all been thanks to you guys, our users. This is because all of the proceeds from Tempo’s starter licenses get donated directly to Room to Read. So by investing in a starter license, you get a great project management solution and know that your contribution went towards raising the worldwide literacy rate.

And the numbers are shocking. As we speak, 300 million children do not have access to education or the opportunity to learn to read or write.

There are over 880 million illiterate adults and two-thirds of that number are women. Not only are young women in developing countries at the greatest disadvantage, but the social benefits of focusing on improving the educational opportunities for girls are manyfold. We have established that educated women induce stronger per capita income growth and lower infant mortality rates.

Room to Read library, Kampon Chhnang, Cambodia

The Internet is brimming with educational opportunities, but imagine if that infinite pool of information was closed to you, due to a lack literacy and access. The world’s next medical breakthrough or game-changing software development could be lurking in the mind of a young girl locked in a daily struggle to feed her family.

We all benefit from raising the global literacy rate and Room to Read are doing things a little differently.

An example would be the role of “Social Mobilizers” in developing countries. Equal parts teacher, advocate, and counselor who delivers the life skills curriculum, conducts home visits, monitors attendance, and whatever else it takes to ensure each girl can thrive in school.

Their goal is to provide children not only with facilities and personnel for learning and the literacy needed to take advantage of those facilities, but to promote literacy and gender equality in education.

Learning materials created by the Room to Read program are adapted to local needs and produced locally, and the organization’s operations are run entirely by local staff who are familiar with the local challenges, customs, and languages. And girls are provided are supported to complete secondary school with life skills necessary to succeed in school and beyond.

“The cost to give a girl everything she needs for school, from a uniform to life skill coaching is only $250 per year” - John Wood, Founder of Room to Read

Lets have a quick look at the numbers.

Room to Read is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organisation with a Charity Navigator 4-star rating for eight years in a row. Their 23-person Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Team collects and analyzes data to measure progress towards their goals. As it stands, over 80% of donations go directly towards their cause of teaching literacy.

What can be done for that amount? So far, through our Starter License program, Tempo has raised $20,000 in 2012, another $20,000 in 2013, and the year-to-date approximate so far for the first half 2014 is more than $12,000, which means we are on track to exceed the success of previous years, all thanks to our customers.

It costs $110 dollars per year to teach a child in a developing country to read and write. According to these numbers, together we have helped close to 470 children reach that goal so far. Even more, according to Room to Read statistics, the total amount donated through our starter licenses would also be enough to build around 10 libraries.

Our friends at Atlassian have taken it even further by raised a staggering $3 million for Room to Read from the sale of their JIRA starter licenses.

Overall, Room to Read has built over 13,000 libraries, constructed more than 1,500 schools in developing nations and it is estimated that 8 million children have benefitted from the program. That’s pretty amazing!

Education inspires autonomy and generates opportunities. It may not throw all the doors wide open, but it empowers people to throw those doors open themselves. It’s a way to break the vicious cycle where communities are too impoverished to offer access to education, and that lack of education feeds the cycle of poverty.

We are extremely thankful to our users and are awed by the success of the program. Tempo’s continued growth and your contribution ensure that our partnership with Room to Read and our commitment to the cause will only grow.

Here's a short animation from Room to Read which we think sums the program pretty nicely.


Learn More About Room to Read