Vientiane (Nov. 15, 2011) — U.S. Ambassador to Laos Karen B. Stewart and special guest Anita Botti, Deputy Director of the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, visited Thongkhankham Primary School in Vientiane on November 8 to read stories to Lao children and donate books to the school library.
The visit followed their meeting with officials from the Room to Read organization, which promotes literacy in Laos and in other countries around the world. Thongkhankham Primary School is one of the schools participating in Room to Read’s school libraries program, which helps schools in poor or disadvantaged communities build libraries.
In addition to its school libraries programs, Room to Read also has programs to support girls’ education, which is an area of particular interest to Ms. Botti. As Deputy Director of the Office of Global Women’s Issues, Ms. Botti travels the world to promote stability, peace, and development by empowering women politically, socially, and economically.
Ambassador Stewart has long made it a priority to encourage reading and often stresses the importance of literacy for Lao children. She generally makes book donations whenever she visits a school and earlier this year she travelled to Luang Phabang to take part in a reading festival sponsored by the Big Brother Mouse book publishing company, which is partially supported by the U.S. Embassy. Room to Read receives $1.4 million in funding from the U.S. government annually. The majority of the organization’s funding comes from individual donors. To find out how you can help, visit their website: http://www.roomtoread.org/