Room to Read supports a cause very close to my heart (children’s literacy in the developing world), and is an organisation I am proud to support. Their premise is simple, clear to understand and significant: World change starts with educated children.
In recent months, my close group of girlfriends from school – whom I love dearly and who, lucky for me, I still get to see on a regular basis – have started a bit of a book club. It’s basically just another excuse to meet up over a bottle of wine, share good food and a good old gossip but, as well-educated young women, we also love a good read. And, we came to realise, we don’t read enough.
Well, imagine if we couldn’t read at all? Imagine if our fathers insisted that as soon as we were old enough to work in the local village, we dropped out of school and earned a decent wage instead? What if we couldn’t get to a school because it was so darn far away? Or because we had to look after our pain-in-the-ass younger brother instead?
I’m not going to get all charidee on you, but it’s worth thinking about, which is why I think Room to Read’s Big Book Swap is such a genius invention.
As a fundraising mechanism, it is a completely fluid concept, which is namely, this: instead of all going out and buying brand new copies of the same book, take your £8.99 (let’s round it up to £10) and put it in a central Big Book Swap pot for Room to Read. Then bring along a well-loved, well-read copy of your favourite book, and share that with the group instead. You learn a little bit more about each other’s past, reading habits and experience, you hopefully get introduced to a brand new title and you get the fuzzy warm glow of having given to charity.
And get this: every £10 you raise (give or take, that’s the price of one shiny new book in the UK) will buy you TEN local language books in Africa. TEN.
What’s not to love about that?
You can set up a small Big Book Swap with three of your closest friends. Or you can set up a table at work and get the whole building involved over the course of a day. You could host a fun singles evening at your local pub (bonus: all attendees will have at least one thing in common from the get-go, a love of books) or even a tea party for your kids and their friends after work. Take the concept into your school, university, office building or local sports club.
Or just use it as another excuse for a bottle of wine and a gossip.
But find a way to do it. The official day is Tuesday 29th March, and thy want to see as many events happening on that day as possible, but don’t be restricted by the day – the important thing is that you get involved. And to find out how to get your dosh to the nice folks at Room to Read (and to tell them about what a rip-roaring success your event was afterwards), email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And come and tell us what you think on Facebook too.