UNIVERSAL LITERACY is yet to be achieved on this planet: according to UNESCO, one in five adults, or about 774 million people, lack minimum literacy skills. Two-thirds of them are women. And 72 million children are out of school.
September 8, International Literacy Day, was created in the mid-1960s to highlight this basic lack and to stress the importance of literacy worldwide.
You can make a difference today by volunteering in your community, donating books, or supporting an organization working in the field:
1. Room to Read
Room to Read works with rural communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia to build schools and establish libraries. The Local Language Publishing program allows children to read books in their first language.
Room to Read’s programs reach more than four million children and is aiming to improve literacy for ten million children by 2015.
Learn more about how to donate or sponsor a project.
2. Li! Li! Li! (Read, Read, Read):
Li, Li, Li! Reader with children in tent camp in Tabarre, outside Port-au-Prince. © Alice Speri
Li! Li! Li! means “read, read, read” in Creole and it’s also the name of a reading-out-loud program for children in Haiti displaced by the January earthquake. This grassroots group sends local Haitian readers to visit over a dozen “tent” camps, reading storybooks and using puppets to act out stories for children.
You can help by sponsoring a reader or donating children’s books.
3. Global Literacy Project
Christina Vanech at opening of kindergarten room in Soweto.
Global Literacy Project is a New Jersey based nonprofit with programs in Africa, India, the Caribbean, and the United States. In areas with higher literacy rates, they work to help people get access to materials and media; in lower literacy rate communities, the group tailors programs to building from the ground up.
One twelve-year old boy was so inspired he organized his own project that delivered 1,000 books worth nearly half a million dollars to a school in Africa.
There are many ways you can help the Global Literacy Project: volunteer, fund a science room or library, hold a book drive or make a book donation.