Town volunteers to build Sri Lanka school | DrumhellerMail
Last updateTue, 21 May 2024 12am

Town volunteers to build Sri Lanka school

room2read.jpgA local group of dedicated volunteers are working towards building a school in Sri Lanka, and already have a jump on reaching their goal raising $35,000 to do so.This group is spearheading the Room to Read Drumheller Appeal, and on March 9, they invited Cherylle and Tony Adolphous of Sri Lanka and Michael Lynn of Microsoft Calgary to shed some light on the Room to Read Program, and the need in Sri Lanka for such a project. “As a psychologist I have worked in schools around the province and overseas. While they are not always perfect, I have been impressed with how education and a good school can make such a difference in children’s lives,” said Peter Glossop, who is part of the Drumheller Appeal.Glossop became aware of Room to Read after hearing John Wood, the founder and CEO of the charity, speak at a conference. Wood, described as an “overworked Microsoft executive”, was on holidays trekking in the Himalayas in 1998. A visit to a school and a village library changed his life forever. The library kept its books under lock and key because these possessions were so precious, couldn't afford to have the children damage them. “My heart sank as the school’s treasure trove was revealed,” wrote Wood in his book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. “A Danielle Steel romance with a couple locked in a passionate and semi-clothed embrace on the front cover. A thick Umberto Eco novel, written in Italian. The Lonely Planet Guide to Mongolia. And what children’s library wouldn’t be complete without Finnegan’s Wake?”Exactly as the title of his book would indicate, he left his job, and changed the world. Since the charity was founded, it has built 765 schools, established more than 7,040 libraries, established 179 computer and language labs, and has donated almost three million English language children’s books. Room to Read also works as a publisher and has released 327 new local language children’s titles representing over 2.8 million books. It has also funded 6,817 long-term girls’ scholarships.Drumheller is becoming a part of the movement.Glossop spread the word to Ron Kenworthy and others in the community, and the Drumheller contingent has taken on its first project in Sri Lanka.Glossop explains the school would be comparable in size to Greentree School and house anywhere from 150 to 400 students, depending on its location. Sri Lanka is a country in need of this kind of project, especially since the Tsunami of December 2004, wiped out much of the educational infrastructure.The charity employs an adopt-a-project style of fundraising, rather than the typical general pool of funds style fundraising. This gives project groups an exact amount of funding they need to raise, in order to build the corresponding project.“We’ve looked at other charities and we felt he (Wood) had a very good business model with a combination of low administrative costs, and a far amount of focus on the community,” said Glossop. “They wouldn’t just go into a community and give them money, he goes in and from the ground up the community comes forward, they build half the school and provide some of the teachers, and it has to be grounded in what the community needs, and what Room to Read can provide.”While the Drumheller group is in its infancy, it has already raised $7,000 towards the project, with a sizable donation coming from students from the Drumheller Composite High School.“The kids worked together and fundraised for this, and gave us a really nice donation,” said Glossop.They have more fundraising endeavours planned. Look forward to a garage sale coming the first week of June. During the summer, the volunteers will be busy planning for Room to Read Week. During the week of September 20, they are planning an art auction and dinner as well as a golf tournament with proceeds going towards the school.“Drumheller has a really good history of helping both local causes and charities overseas,” said Glossop.For more information on the Drumheller campaign or Room to Read, contact Peter Glossop at 403-321-4123, or Ron Kenworthy at 403-823-8802

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