Thursday, April 10, 2008

A new library for Shree Rastriya Primary School!

We're so tickled to share this news - and to recommend an amazing program.

For some time, we've been trying to find an appropriate way to honor the memory of a dear friend. Some (maybe most) of you reading this know Noel "Sofa" Cross was a gifted and caring soul. His passion for music and literature was eclipsed only by his generosity. He remains vibrant and alive in so many hearts, minds & souls.

We came across a wonderful program - Room to Read - which sets up libraries and schools in developing countries. As soon as we discovered that one of their primary areas of focus was Nepal - where Sofa came into this world - it was obvious sponsoring a children's library there would be a perfect tribute to him.

Sofa's library is located in Brahmapuri village, in the south-central region of Nepal, known as the "Inner Terai." Chitwan is its largest valley, bordering India to the south. The major mode of transportation is the bicycle - as a non-driver, Sofa would have liked that! Chitwan is also famous for the Royal Chitwan National Park (RCNP), a World Heritage Site. The RCNP is the oldest national park in Nepal and is located at the foot of the Himalayas. The park includes one of the last populations of the single-horned Indian Rhinoceros and the Bengal tiger.

The Shree Rastriya school is a small community primary school with 5 teachers (2 female, 3 male), 179 students (a 45%/55% split girls/boys), in grades 1 through 5:

The library is a separate, single room, building. Above the door is the school name, in Nepali, obviously. The books supplied are primarily in Nepali, with some English texts included as well:

Here are some pictures of the kids digging in:

And some of their artistic flair, already on display:

World change starts with educated children.

Room to Read's effectiveness and impact are testament to a simple, but wonderfully conceived and implemented, program. Nearly 90% of all donations are spent on the projects. Their website has lots of information on all the various programs and donor options they offer. Also, the founder, ex Microsoft sales guy John Wood, has written a wonderful memoir on his journey from entrepreneur to someone who is truly making a difference for the greater good. It's a great read.

Full disclosure: this is addictive. We're up to our fourth library sponsorship. I hope you too pick up the habit! If interested, contact Amanda and tell her you're another friend of ours and Sofa.

Finally, here is a picture of the dedication plaque in Sofa's library. We still miss you buddy, but I hope someday my path crosses with a Shree Rastriya alumus who is curious to know "who was this Sofa?" I'll have stories to share.


Blogger Mark said...

Just beautiful. A fitting tribute if I ever saw one...

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Orrin said...

These are the most beautiful pictures I've seen in a long while. Thanks so much for sharing the news. It honestly fills my heart. I'm going to go and have a good cry now.

11:10 PM  
Blogger hughhl said...

A lovely & fitting tribute. I would have liked to have known Sofa better.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous pat said...


1:03 PM  
OpenID xmelinda said...

I especially like that it mentions how Sofa liked to enthusiastically share his passions for reading and music -- I hope it will inspire others to do the same.

1:29 PM  
Blogger JasOK said...

'someness. Go Sofa.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Mike Z said...

I never thought you were so deep. You continually surprise me.
- Mike Z

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

This is really beautiful Dean.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous heather said...

Orrin shared my exact thoughts...
so beautiful and heart-filling. Thank you Dean and Deb, this is really wonderful gift you have given to so many. i can't wait to visit...

10:11 AM  
Blogger lasides said...

What a lovely and fitting tribute to Sofa, Dean. Thanks to you and Deb for your thoughtfulness and generosity! Room to Read is a great organization and I'm so excited that you are involved with them now.


8:04 PM  
Anonymous amyonfire said...

What a thoughtful and appropriate tribute for him, Dean. You and Deb are so generous.

10:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Beautiful memorial, Dean and Deb. Your generosity is touching many lives across the world.


1:04 PM  
Blogger itsy said...

I'm finding this news late but wow, Deano and Deb, this is wonderful, so appropriate. I'm actually kind of speechless.

7:33 AM  

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