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Since giving up millions to deliver books in rural Himalayan villages, John's life has changed dramatically. He says he's been left standing alone at a few dinner parties by people who were more interested in social status than global literacy.

"You give up a lot," he says. "But when [you] walk into a village … and [watch] the red ribbon get cut on a school, you think to yourself, 'This is not sacrifice. This is something that you can barely describe.' It makes you feel so good."

John may be making less money than he ever has in his life, but he's also putting in more hours than he ever has before. "I feel lucky that I found this, but I also feel a certain sense of impatience because there are so many kids we haven't reached yet," he says. "Every week we get these heartbreaking letters in our office in San Francisco from people saying, 'When can you bring Room to Read to Cameroon? When can you bring Room to Read to the slums of Rio de Janeiro?' … We have to think about all the kids we haven't yet reached, and then just go back to work."

Currently, there are more than 770 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds of whom are women and girls. John hopes to change this by building 20,000 new libraries by the year 2020. Help Room to Read reach its goal by donating a book today!
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FROM: I Walked Away from Millions
Published on April 03, 2007

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