A shout-out to the always inspirational DarynKagan.com web site for this story. Rachel Rosenfeld of Harrison, NY, now 17, read a newspaper article last year about impoverished children in the Cambodian province of Srah Khvav, who lacked access to education. Yet unlike most newspaper readers who perhaps send kind thoughts and then move on, Rosenfeld (even though ill herself at the time) decided to do something to help Srah Khvav’s children: raise money to build a new school in the province. Rosenfeld sent countless fundraising letters, sold t-shirts, and engaged in basic grassroots fundraising that raised $52,000. She also gained the notice of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which contributed an additional $23,000. On December 26th (my birthday!) Ms. Rosenfeld and her family visited Cambodia to cut the ribbon opening Srah Khvav’s R.S. Rosenfeld School, a primary school for 300 children that also includes five computers and internet access. MSNBC ran a story here — this really is my favorite news story of the month.
Today’s mitzvah: Most of us may not have Ms. Rosenfeld’s energy, but we can still help improve children’s access to education. At no cost: click on Greater Good’s The Literacy Site, whose sponsors will make a contribution benefiting First Book in the U.S. and Room to Read internationally. For $5 or more: consider a tax-deductible contribution to Room to Read, which helps to build schools, provide scholarships, and publish books in local languages for children in developing countries.