I’ve joined the board of Room to Read

 Room to Read is a global organization seeking to transform the lives of millions of children in the developing world by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. and I have been asked to become the Head of Digital for Room to Read in London.  

My first encounter with the organisation was from a fair distance, raising money for them through TechBikers Paris to London cycle in 2012, but in 2013 as I became more involved in TechBikers (taking on the role of Head of Comms) I found myself working closely with Room to Read in London and Globally, especially connecting with founder John Wood (he’s an absolute dude). We did some good stuff this year - see the report.

John’s passion for what TechBikers were doing, combined with the interest from Room to Read London’s new team, has lifted TechBikers from a single annual ride to potentially many rides all around the world, wherever there is a tech cluster. I’m proud to have played a part in making this happen, from a few tweets to a world of opportunity.

I’m joining Room to Read for three reasons:

  1. Mairead King who leads the London Chapter is an excellent person to work with, she instils confidence and passion, and has chosen a great team in London while engaging Room to Read globally in a really short time. She asked me, it was hard to say no.
  2. Room to Read does amazing work. Sure, lots of charities do amazing work but I have never seen a third sector organisation that runs so much like a business – on measurable goals and clear results, so the money donated is invested more wisely in projects that deliver the greatest result.  
  3. John Wood. Did I mention he’s a dude? He left a secure job in Microsoft to build libraries, fill them with books, and help children get the chances that we almost take for granted. He has done this for 13 years, built a $40m charity that has benefited 7million children already and yet still keeps the air of an old friend every time we meet, even though we barely know each other. I know being part of an organisation he founded will be a very rewarding challenge.

Also, he wrote this in his book for me, and I am a sucker for heartfelt inscription.

Small details make big impact  

The role is pro bono and will sit along side my other commitments. Exciting times? You bet! 

What did Techbikers achieve?

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Well, more to the point, what did you acheive? If you sponsored me for the recent Techbikers Paris to London 200 mile cycle then you are of course awesome, but this is why ...

We will fund the following 2012 projects in Nepal:

  • One two room School Construction project at 22,000 USD (Brand new school built)
  • One constructed Library at 20,000 USD (brand new library built)
  • One School Library at 5,000 USD (re-purposing of an existing room in a school with no library, filled with books)

I could not be prouder today, and this extends to each of you who supported me - thank you with all my heart.

The plaque text will read: This school/library was established through the cooperation of the local community, Room to Read and TechBikers. TechBikers (40 entrepreneurs in East London) were inspired to support this space and hope that it similarly inspires the local community to dive into a world of creativity, initiative and curiosity that was opened up to us by books and learning.

I MADE IT #techbikers

I made it from Paris to London on a bike, almost 200 miles (minus a little when we got flooded off the Sussex hills) over 3 days with 40 others to raise money for Room to Read. Thank you to those who supported me with donations, tweets and Facebook messages, it made all the difference to what was the most gruelling thing I have ever done.

Be it the frosty mornings, the pea-soup fog at 40 miles an hour, the river that was once a road I cycled up or the 10 mile stretches all uphill each mile I cycled closer to home broke me but renewed me at the same time.

I know lots of you were waiting for payday to support me - this means a lot and each donation after the event has been an extra pat on the back: if you can, support me here

Some stats for the group:  

  • Collective miles cycled: 6,925
  • Collective calories burned: 68,634
  • Collective pedal revolutions: 3,985,200 (Four million!!)
  • Collective feet climbed: 197,702

To add some context, that means the team cycled from London to Mount Everest, and along the way ascended its height seven times over.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you,

MJx

Support here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/techbikers