While I was poking around the internet looking for what was going on in the world, I found this. As a book blogger, it’s a little crazy to me that I never saw it before. Literacy is one of the most important skills one can have. It opens the world to most of the others. Sure, there are all kinds of things we can learn by watching them or experimentation, but literacy is always the key to awareness about the world around us because it unlocks everything that everyone else has already done and discovered and shared. It lets us get to the next step.
It also lets us remember. Our books are a reminder of what we have suffered and what we have believed and what we learned from it. They make it possible, though we sometimes ignore them anyway, to not make the same mistakes our foreparents did.
Wikipedia has an interesting list of countries by literacy rates. More important than knowing the literacy rates, there’s knowing what can be done to improve literacy worldwide. Proliteracy also has a great list of facts, including US statistics for those of us who live here. I particularly appreciate the way their site links literacy to human rights risks.
The Malala Fund is always out there raising funds and awareness for education worldwide, which includes literacy. It does focus on girls because girls are the children that are most likely to not get an education worldwide. The literacy numbers above support that. Additionally, though, there are a number of countries where men’s literacy isn’t great either and educating them as boys would equally help. Malala’s co-winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, Kailash Satyarthi, also has a foundation for the education of the world’s youth without a gender focus and that can be found here. The microlender Kiva also has a section where you can lend money for education to people around the world.
Aside from education programs to donate to, there are also plenty of literacy specific programs in many communities that need volunteers to help teach people to read. This might be a great day to get online and find someplace to volunteer.