Erin Keown Ganju shared her passion with 1,300+ TEDxBerkeley attendees this past weekend, including five key lessons she has learned about not just engaging the world (theme of this year’s event) but making a difference in the emerging world with literacy acceleration.
She shared her own journey with Room to Read, which seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.
Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, they develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
She quoted Nelson Mendela as a reinforcement to how critical education is, particularly in the developing world: Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.
She shared her five lessons learned in being involved in expanding Room to Read around the world. Founded in 1998, in seven years, they had donated their millionth book!
Lesson One: find an idea that canges the world. The key to develoing solutions is an educated population.
Lesson Two: Turn an idea into reality. She told stories about changing the way people ‘think’ about education in rural areas of India, Sri Lanka, Zambia — what it will mean for them if they embrace education and learn to read.
Lesson Three: Learn From Setbacks and Take Risks. She told a story about Lao and breaking through rules and regulations to get a program set up in that country.
Lesson Four: Take it to scale. They have now established 11,000 libraries which has now outnumbered the number of Starbucks and McDonalds. They have impacted over 5 million children and there are over 53 countries around the world which are raising money for educate children and promote reading.
Lesson Five: Remain open to refining the vision.