Thursday, July 23, 2009

Changing the World... Through Books.

10 years so, at 35, he left a cushy job in Microsoft to change the world. Every idealistic young activist has a strategy to do this. And for John Wood, it was through bringing books, books, books to as many children in the developing world as he could!

It started out as a dream to bring books to kids in the developing world...

That dream spawned the setting up of an organisation called Room to Read - which is one the fastest-growing non-profits in history. Its presence is currently in 9 countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, South Africa & Zambia.

To date, it has established more than 750 schools and 7,000 multi-lingual libraries across the developing world. It has distributed over 5 million children's books in multiple languages and supports early 7,000 girls with long-term scholarships. And counting..... John says he plans to open 20,000 libraries and schools, serving at least 10 million children, by 2020.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Meade ~

This awesome, unassuming man was recently invited to be on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah was so impressed by his work (she's an avid reader & a long-time advocate of reading) that she urged her viewers to support Room to Read through donations.

"We had dedicated 8 servers to manage the online donations that we expected would stream in. But within minutes, all 8 servers had to be rebooted!" John shares with an incredulous chuckle. "From Oprah's viewers alone, we raised US$1 million!"

John Wood, Founder & Executive Chairman of Room to Read, in The Living Room!

Well, we may not be The Oprah Winfrey Show, and we may not be able to help John raise US$1 million through one airing of The Living Room, but you can't fault us for trying! *grin* So if you're prompted to make a donation, click here now.

GOOD NEWS! You can catch that episode of John Wood as a guest on Oprah's show on the 3 & 4 Aug @ Hallmark Channel.

Or if you want to read his bestselling book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children, it's available in all major bookstores. It's been translated into 18 languages.

When I first met John Wood and shook his hand across the Conty counter, I wasn't aware I was in the presence of such a phenomenal man. He's such a warm, easy-going guy! I feel honoured indeed to have met & chatted with him. Sometimes, I can't believe I get paid to do this!

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