If you want proof, just ask me! -- Choose a book, Change a life

* A similar version of this post is also published at Asian Philanthropy Forum.

Please meet Tungaa, pictured here with some young friends from Khishig-Undur School. Talking to Tungaa can transport you straight to rural Mongolia, back to her elementary school’s 4th grade classroom, and she’ll tell you how books changed her life and many other lives in her hometown.

Books for Asia is The Asia Foundation’s longest running program, and distributes one million brand new books each year to students, educators, and community leaders throughout Asia, including to rural Mongolia. As a student, Tungaa read books from Books for Asia in her classroom, and it changed her life’s path. She is living proof of the impact this program has had.

These moments of “proof” of impact are hard to explain or capture, and yet they are what we ultimately work hard for. How do you use technology to share the thank-yous, the smiles, the determination in the eyes, and the heart-warming hugs from the communities that you help? These moments need to be shared with not only colleagues in your organization, but also those who have the ability to help.

So we decided to provide a window into these changed lives, and engage those who care by allowing them to choose the storybooks we send to these young students. As far as I know, Books for Asia is a pioneer in using interactive digital media to convey the power of a book. For our first online “book vote,” we traveled to meet school children in the hill tribes of Thailand. Next, we headed south to a school on small riverboats in Bangladesh. Our final destination in this book vote, is the frozen plains of northern Mongolia, where we met people whose lives have been changed by these books.

The best thing about the current book vote, is that a generous donor has offered to donate $1 to The Asia Foundation every time someone chooses a book and casts a vote. Please help us spread the word.

If a picture paints a thousand words, this video will inspire you in a way that words cannot. As Tungaa says in the video, “If you want proof, just ask me!”

PS: Added in April 2010 -- thank you all so much for voting. We successfully got over 10,000 votes and raised $10,000! Watch the delivery thank you video here.

PS: Related posts: Books for Asia & The Power of Books

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