Literacy Changes Everything

“Literacy unlocks the capacity of individuals to imagine and create a more fulfilling future.” Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN

By 12:00 p.m. this afternoon, I had already read nine newspaper articles, seven blogs, one UN report, four chapters in two books, as well as countless emails and Twitter updates. I’ve written emails, texts, Twitter updates, a couple Facebook messages, three documents for work, and now this blog update. A typical day. For me.

Consider for a moment that I was never taught how to read or write. How different would my life be? If I were not literate, I would never have “met” some of the most influential characters in my life story. I would never have fallen in love with the history and culture that was so foreign to my demographically homogeneous hometown. I would not fully understand the need to give a voice to those who have been silenced. I cannot perceive a path that would allow me to do what I am doing today without the ability to read.

Now, consider the young girl in Africa that dreams of being a nurse, but was never able to attend school, or the young boy that would love to fly planes, but he does not know how to read and write. I’ve met many of these children–who have a passion to change their world, but lack the basic skills to do so.

There are more than 800 million people worldwide who are not able to read and write, with millions more who only have basic literacy skills. We know that literacy increases child survival, economic opportunity, and hope for future generations. On International Literacy Day, we want to give these people a voice.  We want to help change their circumstance.  Will you join us?

Kimberly Casey, Special Assistant and Program Manager