Thursday, 8 September 2011

International Literacy Day


Welcome back to Thrusty Thursday. Did you know? Today is International Literacy Day. Some of you will know that I’m very passionate about literacy as an issue and support campaigns to improve literacy within our communities.
                                      (Image source: google.com)

According to UNESCO, about 774 million adults lack the minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. About 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. However, literacy is also a cause for celebration because there are nearly four billion literate people in the world. (Source: timeanddate.com)

Personally, I never realised there were so many illiterate adults until I had a close encounter with one. Last year I offered my domestic cleaner one of my books. She used to come in one day a week to help me out. I’d bought two copies of the same book and decided to give her one. Shockingly, she revealed to me that she couldn’t read. I couldn’t believe my ears. She was living in England, UK in 2010 and she couldn’t read. How was that possible?

I nearly wept on her behalf. She couldn’t do the simplest things like reading nutrition labels on food products, reading newspapers, helping her children with homework.

As a parent, I can’t imagine not being able to help my son and daughter with their homework. But that was her plight. The worst thing was she was set in her ways and had accepted that she’d never be able to read properly. Luckily, her children were getting help through the school. Her son was actually doing well. To encourage him, I gave him most of the children and literature books I had at home. I really want him to attain greater heights than his parents ever did. Reading and writing well is the first step on that road to greatness, in my opinion.

So why is literacy so important?

Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy. Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy. (Source: UNESCO)

To see more of what UNESCO is doing to improve worldwide literacy visit their website.

I believe it is so important that literacy skills are learnt early in life. So this year I am supporting a charity, the African Library Project. They coordinate book drives in the United States and partner with African schools and charities to start small libraries. Please visit their website to find out more.

The African Library Project also has a Facebook page here. For a limited period, an anonymous donor is giving $2 per fan on their page. So all you have to do to help is click the ‘Like’ button on their Facebook page for them to get the money. I hope you will show your support.

So what do you think about literacy levels in your community? Have you had a close encounter with any adult who couldn’t read or write properly? Share your thoughts. Thank you for stopping by.