International Literacy Day – 1 in 5: that’s 776 million adults worldwide that can’t write their own name or read a line from a book. A basic right to education that richer countries like ours don’t have to worry about, compared to much poorer places in the Third World.
Thankfully, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is dedicated to tackling the link between poverty and literacy. The day was founded in 1946 and every year on 8 September UNESCO asks governments, employers, trades unions and other important international organisations to get involved and remember the importance of being able to read and write.
So, what is literacy and why is literacy so important? Well, we need to be able to read and write to get through our important everyday tasks: from something as small as writing a shopping list, to passing through school and into employment. Where would we be if we couldn’t do these things? Literacy opens up a window of opportunities to every one of us, and is essential to our development.
Every year on 8 September the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes are awarded. The prize is worth $20,000. Literacy programmes from The Saakshar Bharat (Literate India) Mission and The Dhaka Ahsania Mission in Bangladesh were some of the winners of UNESCO’s literacy prizes for 2013.
In the UK 1 in 6 people struggle with literacy. The National Literacy Trust is an independent charity that relies on financial support to help support people and improve their literacy skills. If you would like to support the National Literacy Trust to help them continue with their important work click here. Also, if you want to pledge your support complete the form on line.
If you would like to get involved, or are interested in finding out more about events taking place on the day, go to the International Literacy Day website.