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At school Sabina at School Boys Reading Girl Receiving Book

Rough Cut
Nepal: A Girl's Life
Making room to read


Sachi Cunningham

Berkeley-based filmmaker Sachi Cunningham has shot and produced documentaries for FRONTLINE and FRONTLINE/World throughout the Americas, Asia and the Middle East. She most recently field produced "What's Happening to the News?," a FRONTLINE special about the economic challenges facing the news media, and is currently finishing a feature-length documentary, "Crutch," about a dancer with a hip disability. A graduate of the U.C. Berkeley School Journalism and Brown University, Cunningham first learned to read through bedtime stories and a Montessori school.

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Length: 14:49

"Once upon a time there was a girl whose name was Sabina Timilsina..."

So begins "A Girl's Life" in the sing-song broken English of a 9-year-old who lives in a village outside Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. It's the voice of a girl narrating her own life. A girl with a mother, a father and a brother. A girl who rises at dawn, brushes her teeth, and goes to school. A girl who likes to play volleyball and badminton, but most of all loves to read.

You can tell right away she's playful and smart, but her story seems rather ordinary -- until you realize that her family is of the lowest caste, the Dalits, or "untouchables," who typically earn their living breaking rocks. In a country where 70 percent of the women are illiterate, Sabina is an exception, an extraordinarily lucky girl who has a scholarship that will take her through high school.

Sabina's benefactor is an American named John Wood, who started a literacy program called Room to Read, the subject of this week's Rough Cut by FRONTLINE/World's Senior Associate Producer Sachi Cunningham.

"My first trip to Nepal was in 1998, when I had been working for Microsoft for seven years," Wood tells Cunningham. "I was burned out. I was working the 24/7, full-on commando lifestyle. Always being on call. Always being on email. And I wanted to get away."

Like a lot of well-heeled, footloose Americans, he went on a trek in the mountains of Nepal, which he discovered was "not only a country of absolutely spectacular beauty but also a place of crushing poverty." Visiting a school, he noticed the rundown library was virtually empty. The headmaster proposed a solution: "Perhaps sir, you will someday come back with books."

Those words changed his life. Wood returned the following year with eight donkeys loaded with books, and when he saw how thrilled the children were, he vowed to quit Microsoft and become the Andrew Carnegie of Nepal.

Cunningham grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Carnegie made his fortune in the steel industry and then became one of the world's leading philanthropists and a special patron of public libraries. "When Wood told me he wanted to 'out-Carnegie Carnegie,' I was impressed but skeptical," she says. "With so many problems facing developing countries like Nepal, could books and libraries alone make a lasting impact?"

What Cunningham discovered in Nepal was an ambitious Room to Read program that has already established more than 1,300 libraries and expanding, they like to say, "faster than Starbucks." It is now run and staffed by Nepalese, and what started as a project to provide books has evolved into a full-scale educational campaign to build schools, publish children's books, conduct writing workshops for kids, and offer scholarships. In all this, Wood and his team believe they have a special responsibility to make sure girls are given an equal opportunity for education in a society that has traditionally favored boys.

And that's where Sabina Timilsina, the girl who begins this story, has been so fortunate. Recruited by a Room to Read scout, Sabina now finds herself in a private school on a full scholarship. Which is why she now dreams of becoming a doctor, and why that dream is no longer an implausible one.

With "A Girl's Life," we begin a series of four Rough Cut videos this month highlighting social entrepreneurs such as John Wood and his innovative Room to Read program. Funding from the Skoll Foundation has enabled us to send reporters to Nepal, Ecuador, India and Cambodia to explore the ways in which these "uncommon heroes" are helping to change the world. Watch for a new story online every Thursday, and then tune in to PBS on June 26 for the season finale of FRONTLINE/World, which will feature the surprising story of an enterprising Belgian who has trained rats to sniff out the landmines that threaten lives and hinder development in countries like Mozambique. If you thought Mighty Mouse was something special, wait till you meet the Hero Rats.

-- Stephen Talbot
Series Editor


Jayaram Timsina - Kathmandu, Nepal
I like to give special thanks to John Wood. With support from Room to Read, I am able to see the kids at school (Khairenitar primary/secondary school, khairenitar, Tanahun) in my home village having space to use computers. I am sure that it will definitely help to reduce the digital divide that currently exists in Nepal. This is the path to world peace and honest respect to "development right". Our society needs to focus on education like this to reduce the poverty. As a Computer Education cordinator (Volunteer) of this school, once again I like to give thanks to John Wood and the entire team at Kathmandu for innovative ways of executing the entire program of the Room to Read program here in Nepal. Let's spread it worldwide, John Wood ! We are always with you.

Sugam Shrestha - Minneapolis, MN
Had heard of John Wood's work In Nepal before but this was the first time I had a chance to see it on screen. I hope John's work and the documentary will inspire other Nepalese to help our country.

Bethany Carson - Allen, TX
I was touched to see how much the children of Nepal appreciate their education. In America, children sometimes take school for granted and view it as chore instead of an opportunity because it is easy for everyone to get an education. In Nepal, the children have seen what life is like without education and are motivated to learn so that they can have a career in something other than manual labor or housework. John Wood has been innovative in his invention of the Room to Read program, giving scholarships to girls, who have the greatest opportunity to bring Nepal out of poverty through educating their future children. Also, if not for this program, these girls would have few opportunities because of their inferior status in the Nepal society. The girls seem to realize this and enjoy their education, especially reading the books provided by the Room to Read libraries. If Room to Read can really grow as fast as Starbucks, it will make an amazing difference in education worldwide.

Dr. T.R. Maharjan - Branchburg, NJ
Our Friends of Nepal - NJ is doing similar projects in Nepal perhaps we can collaborate with you to do some fund raising event in our area and also work with Rotary Clubs in Nepal.

James - Pinehurst, NC
My wife and I met John Wood about 1 year ago at a presentation he gave in Seattle, WA. In addition to being impressed with his vision and heart, it was clear he was setting an extremely high standard of accountability for his organization. Not only is Room to Read making a difference in the lives of children worldwide, it is also raising the bar for other social entrepreneurs. If you want to be involved with an organization that is dead serious about changing the world, Room to Read is worth a look.

Nawang Yangki - NY, NY
I grew up in Nepal. But I don't remember visiting a library. Here in NY, I see libraries that have huge amounts stocking books of all kinds. And they're all there to read for free! I never expected that. Room To Read is an astounding program and I hope it continues to educate children in need.

Craig Seasholes - Seattle, WA
Room to Read is the real deal, making a real difference, on the ground in Nepal and the other countries where they operate. The video rings true.I have just returned from Nepal, having seen RTR books in the hands of children in the new community library in Jomsom. Three years ago I volunteered for RTR and visited libraries in the Kathmandu area. Those of us who have grown up with the tradition of a lending library tend to take this tremendous resource-sharing for granted. Seeing libraries take root in rural Nepal gives one the feeling of witnessing a miracle, village after village, child after child, time after time. I congratulate PBS and filmmaker Sachi Cunningham for putting this to the public.

R Thomas - Pasadena, CA
Awesome story! Never again should anyone say, "One person can't make a difference." Excellent reporting. Keep up the great work, John!

Sara Owid - Myrtle Beach, SC
Reading about John Wood and all the wonderful work he has done for female children, literacy and schools makes my heart sing. Having taught seven year olds for... years, I know the importance of an education. I will become involved with this wonderful program and I encourage others to do the same!

Irene Bombard - Boylston, MA
Wonderful, heartwarming story. Mr. Woods is an example of a loving, caring human being filled with love and compassion. This story makes my heart happy, with a teardrop or two.

Bangalore, Karnataka
What a great and inspiring story. Hopefully I will take a lesson from this and do something for somebody in my lifetime. Thank you Frontline and all the people who made this story possible.

First of all thanks a lot for preparing such a heart touching documentary. It is very difficult to eradicate the poverty. However, these kinds of social activities will help to reduce or even eliminate the affects of the poverty. Hence, it should be continued.

Yogi Kayastha - Bhaktapur, Nepal
Though I have not seen the documentary but reading all these comments, mostly from Americans, I am longing to see the documentary. Thanks to whole team who prepared this documentary!

Adam Zenko - Oakland, CA
I am proud to be a local volunteer for Room to Read. I studied abroad in Kathmandu and taught English through the Peace Corps in Mongolia (in a room just as crowded as the one in this piece!), and I believe RTR is the best hope today for these kids in need of education. I hope PBS can broadcast this piece often.

San Diego, CA
Frontline is one of a few programs I watch conistently...loved this segment.
Thank you for great television

Boulder, Colorado
This is exactly the type of segment that makes Frontline a great program!

Jody Granatir - Seattle, WA
Thank you for this touching story of hope and a future provided to girls in Nepal. Room to Read is a remarkable organization that delivers on its promises and provides assistance where it is truly needed. I have worked with Room to Read in Cambodia and can attest to its integrity. The impact of education in these communities will far outstrip Starbucks.

Allison Curletto - San Francisco, CA
I have participated in and watched Room to Read grow from close to it's inception to this amazing multi-continental organization with extremely dedicated staff, volunteers and patrons. This Rough Cut video captures the true essence and soul. It makes me proud, astonished of the program's continued success and confident it will "outdo" Starbucks!

stephanie barrett - Riverside, CT
I loved Sachi Cunningham's short film on the education of Sabina Timilsina and Room To Read's impact on communities in places like Nepal. It is a short but powerful film about how a committed group of people can change the world

Marcy Morrison - La Jolla, CA
Beautifully done documentary highlighting the amazing work that Room to Read is doing to help many children rise above poverty. It was wonderful to watch Sabina's story. I volunteer with Room to Read and 100% believe in the work that they are doing - thanks for sharing this story with the world.

Vidhan Rana - Bethesda, MD
Great piece! Being a native of Nepal, I am delighted at Room to Read's success. Education, especially for girls, is paramount for social change in Nepal.
I feel very, very lucky that I had an opportunity to get a quality education in Nepal, without which I would have never been able to attend college in the United States. Sometimes, things that we take for granted in the developed world are things that people can only dream about in the developing world. Let's all work together to turn that dream into reality.

- Elizabeth, NJ
This documentary should be shown in all grade and middle schools in the U.S.A. American kids today do not realize how fortunate they are to have books so easily available to them.

Suraj KC - Boston, ma
Great work! A true representation of an old lived for others is a life worthwhile!

Bipindra Khaniya - China,Dali(Nepal), Yunnan
Good job,thnxs u guys from the inner core of the heart. This programme enhances the need of the child.

Get In Nepal Nepal - Hamden, Connecticut
Wow, great work, great story! Good Job! Thanks! Such thing means and matters a lot.

Melissa Moffett - Seattle, WA
I found this video while looking up Khairenitar, Nepal - where I did my practice teaching for the Peace Corps. I started a library in the school where I taught in NE Nepal (Taplejung district) in 1997. I would have loved to have worked with John Wood to expand the library! Somehow, I failed to realize that Room to Read originated in Nepal. I have donated to this organization through Good Magazine.
Way to go!

Padam Ghatane (Biswakarama) - Khairenitar,Tanahun,NPL, Khairenitar,Swanra(Simaltunda)

This is my luck day. I got a chance to read all the articles noted herewith. The first view posted by my own student long back from Khairenitar and from the Saraswati Model Primary school (the past name). He is Jayaram. Dear, you were one of my best students during that time and since then I never see you. I do consider all views in front of my eyes here while I am posting these comments.

I do really appreciated the work of Mr.John Wood and his honest team for blogging about a small village by the name of Khairenitar and its other village as well. I do thank all who contributed their remarks on this page and wish to have more from other friends as well.

Well done guys and keep in touch wherever you are.

With many thanks,

Padam, Saudi Arabia

dubai, nepal
Hai Frand how are you?

anonymous - Toronto, Ontario
This helped me so much with my project at school. It is always more fun to watch something rather than read it.

birendra thapa - Palpa, Nepal
Thanks John Wood for your great contribution in the light of people (Education). Don't rest in this social service. We are after you for support. (Commenter is also involved as a paid volunteer for the RR Program of RtR in Palpa dist of Nepal )

Millions and millions of thanks to Room to Read and John Wood.. You are lightning candle by candle.

manohar aryal - kathmandu, bagmati
Mr John wood has done really a wonderful job . I appreciate his effort to lift up the poor people and the feeling towards needy people and willingness to help them out of the trouble is a great thing.keep on doing good thing for the helpless peoplo.

binaya tripathi - winona, MN
i am inspired.great job.thank you Mr. wood

Kat Diaz - Yeongwol, South Korea
I was extremely moved by Sabina, and the work of Room to Read. I am currently an ESL teacher in South Korea and showed it to my middle school girls. They were all inspired by Sabina, too. I am a former NGO worker (but burnt out), and the work of Room to Read reminded me of why I got into the profession in the first place. I hope to volunteer in Nepal sometime soon, and hopefully with Room to Read. Keep up the brilliant work. Education is the revolution we all have been talking about.

Debbie Taylor - Friday Harbor, Washington
One action leads to another...first I read Leaving Mircrosoft to Change the World, then I visited the Room to Read website, next I discovered the Frontline video Nepal: A Girl's Life. and now I am excited to show it to my 5th grade students. Imagine what will happen after that. Rippling out to the world, one child at a time. Education Excellence for all. Thank you for being another pebble in the pond

Pradeep Sapkota - Omaha, nebraska
Thank you John for your great work. It's truly aspiring.Thank you.

gopal prasad - delhi, delhi
This is very good program because I think that a poor child can't read easily everywhere. But this program is helping a poor and uneducated child so I am very happy and I want to join and meet Inchraj of Room to Read.

katie king - orange, CA
I applaud John Wood and Room to Read for their efforts in bringing literacy to Asia and Africa. If anyone is interested, they can go to, and part of their purchases go to benefit such organizations as Room to Read.

stephanie graham - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I loved this video! Great job Frontline (as always) Because of learning about John Wood and Room to Read just after my own first trip to Nepal in Oct. 2006, I was inspired to raise $20,000 for three libraries in the valley leading to Mt. Everest! John Wood is a world hero and his team across the globe have the power of HUGE vision behind them! I will be featuring John Wood as Guest on my web site...Mt. Everest Mind Camp....on November 1st and can't wait for people to learn more about Room to Read!

shyam shrestha - patan, nepal, lalitpur
i bought john wood's book, but still not find time to read it, but i hope i will read it someday, i don't know if he translated his book in englsih lanauge. i will be glad to communicate all of his fans.

New York, NY
Couple of months ago i read John wood's name on a nepali blog, then i had no idea on what magnitude he is making a difference on these unfortunate children. Where Maoist were distroying school and abducting children to become so called freedom fighter, this man was building schools and supplying books without any personnel gain. What a selfless act!!!!John i salute you and hope to meet you in person one day. Please do not slow down in this noble cause,light my country with the of rays of knowledge before communist finished teaching children of nepal "G" for gun. Thats what is going on now in Nepal.

Nepal, kathmandu
I want to work in usa

Shivamani Nepal - Arlington, Texas
Thanks John Wood for the great job. I remember my school days where we had tiny library with few books. Education for kids is the most important, especially for girls, in developing country like Nepal. What you did is very inspiring. We would like to hear more success story of RTR. Good luck for your endeavor.

Thank you for the invaluable service you guys are doing, this will definitely change lives of lot of people for the better.

- Chicago, IL
I also used to read the books from Room to Read when I was in Nepal but I had no idea about such a broad campaign of Room to Read. I am really thankful to John Wood who devoted his life in helping the needy people. This report is a great inspiration for me as well.

Hong Kong, Hong Kong
You were right when you said you were making rich people richer working in a software company. I feel the same way now building softwares for my company for the past three years. I just hope I could get involved in such programs with better purposes in life as soon as possible, I am damn sure I will, it's just the matter of time. Anyways, thanks to John Wood for such inspirational hard work, rebuilding hopes and dreams of countless young children and families, you have the blessings from countless hearts and that my friend cannot be bought. You rock!!!

savita raina - san jose, CA
I saw half the documentary on youtube. And tried to see the complete footage of the same on This is wonderful story, i am deeply touched that one person can make a difference in lives of other people and change the entire course of child's life. I take inspiration from this hopefully in times to come i will be able to make difference in someone's life too.......

satanz child - melbourne, vic
That is amazing! Wow.

Many many thanks to Mr. Wood. Yes!! " a person can change the world".

John Wood is a great man. When I read his book I had tears in my eyes so many times. I am from Nepal and by that I can understand the value of education. Today I am a Chartered Accountant and I occupy a high place in my socierty because I have a very high education, thanks to my parents. But all children are not lucky because their dreams are crushed beneath poverty. I too want to help but I dont know how. Maybe there are some ways. But this man is my hero. Thank you John Wood for loving these kids...

Pradeep Shrestha - Hamden, CT
I have read John's book and it's really inspiring. His programs are simply the best and I am glad that he is working for it with his heart and soul. One time a cop pulled me over for not having a register sticker in my window and my car was really messed up with tons of books and junk food in it. Then I remembered John's encounter with a policeman. At that time I felt like I could really do something in my life. I was really a inspiring moment for me. It's crazy huh....

leslie lopez - dallas, tx
I think being a child and going through a lot of st is rough, especially when you are just a child who is supposed to be having a normal life as a child should,

Great work you are doing. Room to Room and John Wood are enlightening the lives of the underpriveledged. I hope others get influenced by you and contribute to such a humanitarian cause in their own way. Keep up your great work.

Brooke Westback - Allen, Texas
This is certainly an inspiring story about money put to excellent use. I commend John Wood for his determination to `help the poor rather than make the rich people richer.' It is so easy to get caught up in the materialism of society today, and it is refreshing to see the success of such a wonderful educational program. I think it is very practical to give the scholarships to girls so that they can pass on knowledge to their children and help fight illiteracy. Since most women were not given the opportunity for education, their only options were to work around the house or do manual labor. However, thanks to the Room to Read program and people who look past themselves to deal with real issues, grateful girls in Nepal are being given the opportunities they deserve and would be otherwise impossible.

Brooke Westback - Allen, TX
This story is certainly inspiring and shows money actually put to good use. I commend John Woods for his determination to 'help the poor rather than make the rich people richer.' It is so easy for people to get caught up in the materialism of society today, and it is truly refreshing to hear about a successful man making an impact on such grateful people. My heart goes out to the women of Nepal and it is wonderful that they are getting an opportunity to receive the education they deserve.

Wow, great pictures.... and also great work.... I am also doing similar work so if there are people who want to volunteer please contact

Pralhad Giri - Kathmandu, Nepal
Bravo! Excellent work! Come to Nepal and see the problems of youth, and you'll find really they're marginalized from all amenities, facilities.

Burtonsville, Maryland, USA
I came across the documentary during my leisure time. It is very much inspiring for every Nepali living within and outside Nepal. If a person from USA can do it, why not a Nepali entrepreneur or a politician take a cue from it and do something for the the country rather than to simply be a guest of honor at ground-breaking or inauguration ceremonies.

Barbara Mayer - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Touching. Shows the power of one person and the hunger for education.

San Francisco, California
I really loved this story because it demonstrates how it really wouldn't require that much capital to lift entire populations out of poverty through literacy. The photography was amazing! This was a very inspiring piece!

super inspiring! amazing how what means so little to those of us from rich countries, can mean the world to a little girl in nepal. really good story telling as well.

San Francisco, CA
I loved Ms Cunningham's documentary film on the education of Sabina and Room To Read's impact- This is truly inspiring!

Maurice Handel - Needham, MA
I found this to be a wonderfully moving and complete article. Inspiring, I would say.

gurgaon, haryana
The story is exactly my dream of life after retirement from the Armed Forces which remains unfulfilled for want of funds. I salute the founder of Room to Read.

Savannah Homer - Grayson, GA
I agree with John Wood's philosophy, being a female. I think it is most important to have an education. It's the one thing people can't take away from you.

letizia cariello - milano, italy
A room to read -- at a first glance it reminded me of the famous "(a) room of your own." Then my thoughts came across the image of a young girl-- she gained a voice, her own voice, to talk to the wolrd about herself but first of all to talk with herself about her future. At the end, "the room to read" had a window open to the 'outside'.

Mo - Chicago, IL
What a wonderful story!

Alison Gordon - Highland Park, Illinois
Our elementary school is launching a "Kids Who Care" partnership with Room to Read.We hope our students will learn the importance of giving to others less advantaged while creatively supporting this worthwhile program and worldwide literacy initiative. Bravo to Mr. Wood. We feel honored to follow his lead.

Dinesh Deo - Woodland, Ca
First, thanks to the team. I used to work on school building projects when I was in Nepal. I like this story, very interesting.

Linda Carlson - Palo Alto, CA
This piece about Room To Read shows how easy it is to make our world a better place. It shows us what is possible and how we can contribute. Please show this to a wide audience.

Naba Kadel - Riverbank, CA
The greatest gift of all kinds---education---one person, one village and one country at a time.Thank you Mr. Wood for your leadership, vision, mission and noble aspiration to bring a real change in the world. The story is so true in every village throughout the entire Nepal.

This is the real story of Nepali girls in Nepal, mostly outside of any city. I think this video clip is very representative of the situation. During the last decades so many terrible things happened due to the violence. I want to thank ROOM to READ for all their good work.

Sydney, NSW
I am also from Nepal and know the challenges for Nepalese girls. It's a great work that you are doing. I always have been an admirer of Room to Read.

Taniya W-Purcell - Tustin, California
In a time when thoughts and talk seem centered on conflict, this is a unique and touching reminder about what really matters. Little Sabina is part of a generation of hope. Let's each remember this inspiration and stay grounded, knowing, in our limited lifetimes, to reach out, even if it's a nestling in the backyard or a life only separated by 'distance' rather than lack of kindness. One world, love as much as possible, love in action.

Arlington, Virginia
I am very grateful for this video.I think it shows really the situation.Thank you for being interested in my motherland and my people.

Gary Mack - richmond, BC, Canada.
I always donate money to the local children's hospital, Oprah charity etc. but I don't feel any excitment at all. But with the Room to Read organization, to this day, I still feel excited to talk to every one I know about it, including all the guests who stay in the hotel (I work for Days Inn in Vancouver,Canada). So check out John's web-site. I may not have a lot of money to donate but for sure I will spread the word to a lot of Canadians.

Bruce Johnston - Arlington, Virginia
Thank you for sharing this lovely story of goodness and love. I am so very happy the story is about a Nepali girl and not a boy. I hope that girls and women will be equals in all respects to boys and men in the future. Knowing how to read and having a good education is an important step. Hopefully, society will change so that she is not burdened only with house work and child raising. It is my understand that Nepali women work harder than the men. I have many lovely Nepali friends. Most of them are men. Many realize the inequality and rebel against it. The Hindus that I know are against the caste system also. Much of what I have written may seem off the subject, but literacy and knowledge lead to enlightenment. I am Buddhist. I have many Sherpa friends, too, who are lovely Buddhists from Namche Bazaar. I am very grateful for your film. I have not yet been to Nepal. I look forward to going. I am in love with Nepali people. Namaste and Dhanyabad! Bruce

Even though I lived there I never thought my country could be like that. I only saw one library except my school one.

I want to see this program aired on TV so the word on RTR will spread.

Thank you for the great piece of art and the reality behind the scene. Hope this true program will flourish and help the much needed one.

Barbara - Scottsdale, AZ
This is a touching story, John Woods dedication to these young girls is impressive. This is a story that should be shared, please do.

Frank Kimball - Chicago, IL
An absolutely stunning and remarkable segment. We're long time supporters of Room to Read in Chicago - this 15 minute segment tells the story in a powerful, memorable, and compelling fashion.

Rebecca Taylor - Boston, MA
Outstanding report on how one person can make a difference by doing something; simple yet extraordinary!

Ted R - San Francisco, CA
I've been a long time supporter of RTR, and this was the best telling of their story I've heard so far.

Agartala, Tripura
It's an amazing city, This country is very gorgeous also.

A wonderful story that everyone needs to hear about.

Dhaka, Bangladesh
I am trying almost a similar program in the waterlogged villages near Sundarban, Bangladesh, first villages where coastal parts are sinking. Education is the only skill for the children to get out of water and earn a productive livelihood. My daughter who lives in New York was carrying a book - Room to Read by Wood-last time she visited Bangladesh. May be being in touch will be useful for me.

Ariz Rizvi - Bangalore, India
This was a beautiful documentary. Hats off to both John Wood and Sachi Cunningham for doing such stellar work in the field of Girl Child education.

Carol Waldmann - Vancouver, Canada
I saw John Wood speak a few weeks ago at a Board of Trade lunch. He was absolutely amazing and inspiring. This man is truly making a difference in our world - at a grassroots level. Get involved and tell your friends.

J. T. W. - Los Angeles, CA
Well done, John Woods and Sachi Cunningham.I wish you well in your efforts to showcase the illiteracy problem and the Room to Read project to potential supporters everywhere.
By all means, let's see this story on Frontline with, at least, national coverage!!
My best,

Amy Stephenson - San Carlos, CA
I've also been to Cambodia and visited three schools that have benefited from the partnership with Room to Read. Interviews with local teachers, principals and librarians underscore the good work that is being accomplished. Stories like this are a bright light in an often discouraging day of broadcasting.

San , Ca
I look forward to seeing this series. The story moves me, and inspires me to find my own Room-to-Read. Thank you.

arlington hts., Illinois
A tiny match can start a great fire. John Wood can show the world that one person's "little match" can create a great deal of light where there was darkness. Please broadcast this story so that others may be inspired to act when presented with opportunities to make a difference. It is so easy for most of us to do what seems impossible for the poor.

Pat - San Anselmo, California
Hope this makes it to cable/TV so millions more can see it!

Jane Davie - Dallas, TX
Thank you for Room to Read. It is so inspiring that programs like this are available for those who need them most.

Hilary Phillips - Atlanta, GA
So beautiful and moving! What a truly wonderful organization!!

Aneesha Capur - San Francisco, CA
There are an estimated 500 million women who are illiterate in the world -- without organizations like Room to Read, their children will never learn to read and write their own stories. I hope PBS decides to give this video distribution on national television so Room to Read can reach a wider audience.

Thanks for your big heart to help the poor people. Continue with your chality work. I am also involved in charity work under the org Johannesburg child-net care center but struggling due to lack of sponsors. I request that you link to our organization to donors/foundationswhich would like to invest in humanity here in South Africa.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Yours in service,
Frank Jones Mukuye
Executive Director

Shonda Mahoney - Fairview, Oregon
Bravo! I can only hope to join or be part of an organization such as this in the future. Thank you Frontline for such fine broadcasting that makes a difference!

- San Francisco, California
Wonderful program. Looking forward to hearing more about this project's progress and its accomplishments in the future. Thanks for a well done job.

San Francisco, CA
I have just returned from Nepal myself and am inspired by what this program shows. I know many local Nepali people making a significant positive impact on the Nepali way of life. Santosh Shah,editor of Asia Youth Magazine and Mrs. Pant doing microfinancing for village women and Madhav Gimmere who owns Village Travel and is starting a school in the mountian near Pokora for intelligent village children. These libraries boost all these efforts.

San Mateo, CA
AMAZING! We need more programs like this on TV, this is what our children should be watching, learning about the world and how one little idea can change a world bit by bit. PLEASE air this on TV so that a wider scope of the population can learn and perhaps get involved to help others!!

Bonnie Starnes - San Francisco, CA
I have just returned from Nepal and am inspired by your story. The libraries are indeed a great thing for Nepal as so many there want to read and study. Santosh Shah, Editor of Asia Youth Magazine in Kathmandu, is doing amazing work in his own Nepal training youth to have their own voice and produce this excellent magazine. Mrs. Pant is doing microfinancing loans for village women in Nepal and Madhave Ghimmere has started a school near Pokara for gifted village children. These libraries help these Nepali citizens help thier own people more. visit for more information on these amazing people in wonderful Nepal.

kabin shakya - durham, NH
Very inspirational! John Wood's program will have a great impact on the lives of many of those kids, not only in Nepal but also in all those poor countries in need. Thanks a lot for inititating such a beautiful program.

Carolyn Caindec - Larkspur, CA
What an inspiring piece! I think the work that Room to Read is doing is fantastic. There are so many girls like Sabina all over the world. If Room to Read can continue to help them - one girl at a time, the impact will be tremendous. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. I hope even more people can learn about the truly valuable efforts of Room to Read.

Tim - Mill Valley, CA
Just returned from Cambodia, and visited two RTR libraries there..can attest to the happy faces reading books provided by this great organization.

- Vienna, VA
Amazing and Inspiring! I wish I could make a difference like this.

Ellen - New York, NY
My niece in Hong Kong volunteers for Room to Read, and from all I hear, and now see, it is a wonderful program. This should be on TV!

Sas Bearchar - Hillsdale, Michigan
How extraordinary to see the future being changed in such a profound way. John Wood's contribution parallels that of Karen Dinesen (Blixen) who brought literacy to Kenya. Literacy is the gift of freedom of idea; and what follows that is really up to the Nepalese.This needs to be broadcast on PBS worldwide.

Paul Valentine - Sacramento, CA
I never miss Frontline. This segment on Room to Read is an excellent example of the outstanding reporting available no where else that I have found on television. Room to Read is a great program that we have supported for past few years. Thank you!

Deborah Powell - Long Beach, California
What a heartwarming story. As a teacher I know the importance of books in a child's life. Books can open up a world to which some may never venture into. God Bless you and keep up the great work.

Laura Milani - Chicago, IL
Thanks for producing this piece. It shows that in giving life comes full circle -- we learn from those we teach.

Renton, WA
Room to Read's work needs to be highlighted as an antidote to all the terrible things that are happening in the world. One person can make a difference. John Wood has done this. I hope this is one of those videos that does make it to TV.

Cheryl Kline - Quakertown, PA
I read John Wood's book. I think he is doing wonderful things. I just came back from a missions trip in Nepal and I can tell you the need to educate, especially girls, is great.Please continue to share this piece. I believe one child educated can eventually change a whole village which in turn can change a whole country!

Derek Johnson - Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Awesome. I have raised $500 so far by offering to shave my head to help build a school in Nepal through this program. If you live in CANADA, donate even $5 to help this wonderful program!

Houst6on, Texas
This is a great piece. Please go with this, girls need education.

Lynne - Denver, Colorado
Literacy is the strongest antidote to war, poverty, illness and injustice. Kudos to John Wood and Room to Read!!

Alice Valentine - Menlo Park, CA
What a great piece on my favorite organization, Room to Read! Thanks for making this to help spread the word about how those of us with educations can help kids like Sabina to change their lives... I have been to schools in Cambodia and Vietnam where Room to Read also works and have seen the smiles on the faces of the kids and their parents who have access to books and to education.

Lisa Hogan - Boulder, CO
This program is inspirational on so many levels. I come away with ideas of how I might be able to help this cause, as well as with lessons on how I can better assist other programs I'm already involved with. Very impressive!

Chico, CA
Mr. Woods and his organization are quite an inspiration! Once again, another excellent segment from Frontline.

Pradip Sthapit - West Des Moines, IA
tears fall when i saw the clips about sabina and all.... Hey Microsoft guy u had done a very best work for education in Nepal. I am not finding any words for thanking you for the work..........You are the best .....

Anna May Olding - Cincinnati, Ohio
John Wood with Room to Read is well on his way to meet his goal, to change the world. I encourage you to show the country the fantastic success of Room to Read program.

Dallas, Texas
This is a documentary that must be shown to students in the USA. Thank you for furthering the message of what is important and our obligation and responsibility to help make things better one small step at a time--if that is what we can do.

Tanya R. - Seabrook, Texas
Before seeing this, I never knew a program like this existed. It is absolutely wonderful and should give everyone hope for the future! All children are our future! (Not just the ones that are privileged.) I would love to see more!

San Rafael, CA
What a great program that shows how much we all can do to help others in the world.

Shelley Miller - Vancouver, Canada
What an inspiring piece. The world could use a little more heart! Please continue to share this in hopes that everyone in some way may be inspired to help.


Tere Vaidya - Gladstone, MI
This documentary tells a very moving story. It stirs the Spirit of God in us. Could Frontline/World or Room-to-Read provide us with copies of this video for us to show it at schools and other social functions to promote/teach compassion and love for people beyond our small social boundary?

Estreilla Zulch - Lafayette, CA
A very inspiring and moving story. Stories like this prove that even an individual, can change the world.

Steve Ganz - Mountain View, CA
This is an inspiring story with the potential to have a great impact. I hope it reaches a very large audience.

Felton, CA
We can all use some inspiration these days. This is a great story to tell; simple, heartwarming, and changing the world.

Alexandria, VA
The work of Room to Read is extraordinary and inspirational. Many great thanks to the filmmakers and Frontline for spreading the word of how one can actually change the world.

Great programme.

Pradeep Chandra Dimri - Dehradun, Uttarakhand
The problem of girls education is [a problem of] of parents and community motivation for pre and primary education aged girls AND is an economic problem for post primary education aged girls who live in the mountains, especially Himalaya. The [Room to Read] intervention is empowering girls as well as families for the education of girls.

Jodie - Bethesda, Maryland
What an inspiring piece! Room to Read is doing such fabulous work! May they continue in their success throughout underdeveloped countries! I'm proud to be affiliated with this organization!

Parvathi Venkatraman - Summit, NJ
How absolutely wonderful! I am from India, and as you know we have crushing poverty there as well; to say nothing of gender marginalising. I do wish Room to Read would do the same in India, especially in the state where I am from--Tamil Nadu.Children there are eager to learn. It is just that they have no money, and even fewer resources.

Victoria Butcher - Wigan Lancshire, United Kingdom
My mom lives in Hong Kong and is getting involved with the Room to Read project and it is hoped that she will be able to open a school in my father's name David Butcher, in Vietnam. I teach in England and I am going to make this project our main school focus and get involved in what ever way we can. This is such an exciting opportunity to work with young people in Vietnam and highlight to our children the extreme poverty in some places of the world.

Thanks Frontline/World. I would love to see more on Room to Read or stories similar in style. Well Done.

Jenniffer Chase - San Diego, CA
What a wonderful documentary for everyone to see and hear. We in the U.S. are never grateful enough for the opportunities that we ALL receive. Room to Read will help to make our world more healthy and balanced. Thank you.

jim alvord - Norwalk, CT
With all the nonsense we hear and see in the media, this is refreshing. Why wait for the numbers/reaction? This story must be part of a Frontline presentation.

Mathilde Rand - Santa Cruz, CA
Definitely a segment to air on national television. Inspiring and so needed in this world of fear and wars. Let's have a competition between the warring nations who can educate the most kids with the tools those children need.

Very heartwarming story. A truly worthy cause for an increasingly smaller planet.

Patricia Hamilton - Tiburon, California
Programs like this one will change the world as we know it.

bob Levinson - Friday Harbor, WA
What John Wood is doing with Room To Read will have a profound worldwide influence on the education of thousands of children all over the world. His girl scholarship program will help to educate many nations because if you educate the woman you educate a country. It is one of the best, most dedicated organizations I have ever encountered.

Joan Kurze - Goleta, CA
Having been an avid reader for three quarters of a century, it's been a delight to see my granddaughter crawl toward any available book within her sight. Room to Read is unlocking the secrets, fantasies and news of the world to children who probably would not again be given such opportunity.

Ann Sison - Menlo Park, CA
What an amazing story, about an amazing program! When will this be on PBS television to reach an even broader audience? I would love for my parents to see it, but know they won't view it on the web...

FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
Unfortunately, FRONTLINE/World only airs about 4-5 times a year on PBS. Our next broadcast is June.... We wish we were on more often. In the meantime, we run as many online videos as we can, given our budget and our small but highly dedicated staff. Every now and then a popular video emerges from our Web site and migrates to TV. If that happens, we will alert you, if you subscribe to our newsletter. We are very pleased so many people, like yourself, have enjoyed our "Room to Read" story.

Maureen Marinkovich - San Juan Island, Washington
This is the path to world peace. Our society needs to focus on stories like this!

What better way to tell this story than through Sabina herself. When she was just coming into the world, John responded to a vision to change it for her benefit and ours.

Ken Smith - Plano, Texas
As a longtime RTR supporter, I am pleased to see this new vehicle for informing greater numbers of people about RTR and their good works. World change really DOES begin with educated children. You rock, John!

William Lederer - Lake Forest, IL
More great work from one of the world's best run, most inspiring, and most effective not-for-profits.

Bonnie Vaughan - Palmdale, CA
What a wonderful inspiration! I work at one of the libraries that donates books to this cause. Thank you for showing us the results.

Montrose, PA
What a beautiful way to reach out! John Wood picked up on something truly wonderful and what a great way to help others grow and reach out beyond their humble lives.

Tammy Caltagirone - Geneva, Illinois
Wow! I've worked with Phi Theta Kappa and Better World Books for the benefit of Room To Read. This really brings home all of our efforts.

Cathy James - Telluride, CO.
Thank you Room to Read. I helped start a pre-school in Kathmandu called Tiny Seeds. How rewarding to see a child hold a book for the first time.

Leena - Evanston, IL
This is a wonderful success story about a wonderful nonprofit organization. I have heard John Wood, the founder of Room to Read, speak about the organzation and its mission. I hope FRONTLINE/World airs this story.

Laurie Wright - San Francisco, CA
"Room to Read"is amazing! It is fantastic to see all of the love and support they give children around the world.

Chiccago, IL
Fabulous. They are doing such important work.

Phyllis Quilter - Portola Valley, Californoa
Wonderful! Would that it could be done in inner cities [in the USA].

Amazing story!

Great story, and great program. Would love to hear more.

I am absolutely amazed and inspired by John Woods' story which I saw on Oprah and later read his book. The work he is doing is of the highest kind and worthy of all the support people can give. Thank you.

What a fantastic story and what a wonderful program!

Mary Prendiville - San Francisco, CA
Beautiful illustration of how our actions, no matter how small, change the world. Room to Read is a wonderful model showing how small amounts of money, coupled with community participation, can reap huge benefits for everyone.

Vijay Chander - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I have met John Wood personally on two occassions. This piece is a tribute to a visionary of our times. A visionary who is transforming and shaping the future of this world....THE CHILDREN and specially the Girls. We all should endeavour to nominate him for Noble Peace Prize for 2007.

Tamara Plush - Seattle, Washington
What a wonderful video to show the daily life of a girl challenged by poverty in Nepal. Having spent much time in the country, the piece brought strong memories of the schools I visited and the importance of support for girls. So many people talk about issues such as overpopulation, not realizing that every year a girl goes to school after sixth grade decreases the number of children she has. I am hopeful this film can reach a wider audience.

Bolivar, Missouri
It looks like a worthwhile program!

Hilary Wendel - Tokyo, Japan
John Wood has taken the most simple concept -- give a child the gift of education to open doors -- and made it a reality for many. This is great work, that we should all support. Everyone should watch this....and pass it on!

This video brought back many wonderful memories of my time in Nepal. All these people need is someone to believe in them and they will put in the hard work to make a better world for themselves.

Alexandra Chaikin - San Francisco, California
I came across Room to Read while I was trying to start a nonprofit organization and I was immediately drawn not only to the cause, but also to the enthusiasm, creativity, and business intelligence of the organization. Since moving to San Francisco I have volunteered with them doing development work and report editing. Every one of the staff members is excited about what they do; it really is an inspiration to those of us looking to make a positive impact on the world.

Heather - San Rafael, CA
Room to Read is a wonderful, efficient, driven & dedicated organization bringing the gift of education and reading to so many who are so deserving of opportunity. I have been a volunteer with Room to Read for many years and encourage all who believe in their cause to donate, get involved and participate in educating the world!

Elizabeth - New York, NY
Very nicely told story. I'd like to hear more from the girls - it must be hard to be so much more educated than one's mother. I wonder if it causes generational tension.

Jeff Dawson - Squamish, BC, Canada
This is a compelling piece about a wonderful program and an inspirational and courageous human being who got the ball rolling with Room to Read. It serves as a simple reminder to all of us that our obligation while here on earth isn't only to do something to improve our world, but to do as much as we can.

Little Rock, AR
This is a very touching story..I wish to contribute to this program since it is dedicated towards girl children.

Harlingen, Texas
A knot grew in my thoat as I watched this documentary. I wish there were more ways and more people helping our less fortunate brothers and sisters in underdeveloped places like Nepal. This documentary makes me think of the ways I could ask giant wealthy businesses to help alleviate poverty and illiteracy all over the world.

Bill Falik - Berkeley, CA
I thought this was a very inspiring documentary showing how determination and a little capital blended with community participation and educational materials can change one young girl and then a village and one village at a time, an entire country.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
This was a very interesting and moving piece. Room to Read seems like a great program, and it was inspiring to see the kids having space to read. Thank you for showing another way to find fulfillment in this world of sometimes superficial values.