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MasterCard Supports Room to Read’s Read-a-thon in Hong Kong

October 14, 2014 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

image003 (1)MasterCard announced that it has joined hands with Room to Read, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of millions of children in developing Asian and African countries through its Literacy and Girls’ Education programs, to co-host a read-a-thon in Hong Kong this month, in two selected local primary schools. This first partnership of the two organizations in supporting the education of children in developing countries is part of MasterCard’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and citizenship efforts in the region.

A total of 1,000 pupils from the Hong Kong Student Aid Society Primary School and Buddhist Chi King Primary School are taking part in the read-a-thon in October and the number of pages they read and hours they spend reading will be recorded. The aim of the activity is to instill in the students the love of reading and an appreciation of the act of giving back to the global community.


Jodi Mullen, volunteer leader of the Room to Read Hong Kong Chapter Students Helping Students (youth outreach) team, visits Buddhist Chi King Primary School and reads together with a student taking part in the read-a-thon. 

In a traditional read-a-thon, students often seek pledges from their families for each page read, and fundraise for a cause. In this case, MasterCard is providing the funds and encouraging the students to reach reading goals set by their schools, giving the students incentive to read in support of Room to Read and its beneficiaries. The funds provided by MasterCard will be used to establish a fully functional school library within a school in the Maharashtra region of India, to train librarians for that school library over a period of three years, and to provide the students of the supported school with high quality, culturally-relevant books published in their local language. About 350 pupilsare expected to benefit from the project.

In addition to its support of the school in India, MasterCard will also contribute on a local level, by sendingvolunteers from its Hong Kong office to the schools participating in the read-a-thon. MasterCard is committed to bettering the quality of life of those in need, which is in line with the purpose of Room to Read – to improve the literacy of children in developing Asia and Africa countries, thereby empowering them to realize their full potential and contribute to their communities.

Jodi Mullen, a core volunteer in Room to Read’s Hong Kong chapter and the leader of the chapter’s Students Helping Students (youth outreach) team, stated, “Room to Read is so grateful to be collaborating with MasterCard and the two schools on this initiative. It’s a ‘win’ for all involved!”

Anna Yip, head of Hong Kong and Macau, MasterCard, said, “We are very happy to be backing the charity’s first company-funded read-a-thon in Hong Kong. Giving support to both the local students participating in this initiative and the ultimate beneficiaries of their reading efforts speaks to our dedication to improving communities and the lives of the less fortunate around us.”

According to findings of MasterCard’s research conducted last year, the financial acumen of youth living indeveloping countries was improving.

“By supporting the read-a-thon and Room to Read, we hope to contribute to equipping youth with empowering knowledge including that of financial management. And, we are proud to be giving back to the society with Room to Read as our partner this year and our employees here in Hong Kong appreciate the opportunity to be involved with the meaningful effort.

“MasterCard’s philanthropic efforts cover a broad range of children’s causes. Through scholarships, financial assistance, various educational and sustainability programs, we enable individuals to overcome life barriers and thrive. We are keen on applying our core competencies including its technology and people to give back to society and make a difference in people’s lives around the world,” Anna added.

Room to Read established 1,457 libraries last year, and has established a total of 16,549 libraries in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia since 2000.  Today, Room to Read has impacted nearly nine million children through its Literacy and Girls’ Education programs, and is on track to impact 10 million children by the end of 2015.

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