PastedGraphic-4-1Judith’s Reading Room Opens Libraries for “Scavenger Children” in Cambodia

Robert Lucas is returned to his ancestral home in Cambodia Sunday, April 14 with two boxes full of children’s books, the latest donations from Judith’s Reading Room, a nonprofit literacy organization in Bethlehem, PA.

The books, 163 in all and written in English, include titles such as Green Eggs and Ham, If You Give a Pig a Pancake and A-Z Picture Dictionary, that will be given to two organizations that rescue children from the streets and garbage dumps of one of the poorest countries in the world.

Cathy Leiber, co-founder of Judith’s Reading Room met Lucas during a trip to Los Angeles last year where he was working at The World is Just a Book Away. She was looking to expand the organization’s presence in Asia and Lucas offered to personally deliver the books this month when he moves home to care for his grandfather.

“Growing and expanding international collaborations based upon common goals to foster an appreciation of books, and the pleasure of reading, has the potential to create a positive impression of Americans in Cambodia and promote world peace ,” says Leiber.

Group photoLucas will open two Judith’s Reading Room libraries in Cambodia the first week in May with the organization’s hand-picked 76 books destined for A New Day Cambodia, a nonprofit in Phnom Penh that provides food, shelter and education to more than 100 scavenger children either abandoned or forced to pick trash to help support their families. At A New Day Cambodia, children are taught English to increase their opportunities for securing a job, particularly in the tourist industry.

The second library will be inaugurated at Anjali House, located near Angkor Wat, home to the famous Buddhist pagoda in Siem Reap. Anjali House serves 110 children between the ages of 4-18, who come from families so poor they are forced to beg on the streets. Anjali House will receive a custom collection of 87 books ranging in topics from photography to football to science.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJudith’s Reading Room promotes “Freedom through Literacy” by providing custom libraries to nonprofit organizations that serve people who, for any reason, have limited or no access to literature. With this latest donation, Judith’s Reading Room has established libraries in six U.S. states and six foreign countries including Afghanistan, Albania, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria containing more than 49,000 books valued at $519,462.

Judith’s Reading Room was established in 2010 to honor the memory of Judith F. Krug, first cousin to the founders of Judith’s Reading Room. Judy was the director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and was a champion of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.