Friday, September 7, 2012

Education for all

Yesterday I went to the local library and borrowed a new book 'The Dressmaker of Khair Khana' (great read btw) within four hours I had read the book from back to front. Since I was a little girl, my passion has been reading, as young as 2 years old I had books in my hand, and not much has changed 22 years later. Reading is my passion, my release and my heaven. Every time I travel my suitcase is full of books, not clothes, every birthday all I want is new books, and every year my own personal library gets bigger. I could never imagine my life without books, and the ability to read.I guess I'm one of the lucky ones, I've never known any different but for almost 1 billion people worldwide they cannot read or write. It's not that they are unable its that they have never had the opportunity.Almost 98% of people who cannot read or write live in the developing world,and women make up two thirds of that percentage. In the developing world the percentage of children who cannot red aged 6-11 is 45% (UNESCO 1998). In the communities where Together in Hope works, many of the adults cannot read or write, and many children only have a basic understanding, but there is Hope at the end of the tunnel...

Why am I telling you this? is International Literacy Day a day for “the ongoing commitment of the world community to boost and support literacy as a key to personal progress and to the socio-economic development of nations' The theme of this year’s celebration is “Literacy and Peace.” In the words of UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, “Education brings sustainability to all the development goals, and literacy is the foundation of all learning. It provides individuals with the skills to understand the world and shape it, to participate in democratic processes and have a voice, and also to strengthen their cultural identity.”

Together in Hope is working in the Philippines, El Salvador and Ethiopia to ensure that there is #educationforall. We have begun adult literacy classes in the Philippines, we have also established a literacy program for preschool aged children teaching them how to read and write. Through our Jessica's Table program over 500 children are getting lessons in reading and writing every Saturday morning! Many children are now teaching their younger siblings and even parents how to read.In El Salvador, Together in Hope is supporting the teachers at La Rosa Blanca School develop a better curriculum, and improve teaching practices to encourage children to read. Last month in Ethiopia, a new library opened at the youth center, children are attending every day and love reading the new books. We also have tutorial classes to assist children who need a little extra help. Through these programs, there are over 1000 children and adults who are learning to read and write. Parents are now  able to teach their children the basics of reading, and help them with their school homework. Children are able to escape in the world of reading and enjoy the simple joy of reading, something most of us take for granted.

Today is a day to encourage everyone to demand #educationforall, to ensure that the 1 billion people worldwide who are illiterate can read and write this time next year. When you snuggle up in bed with your book tonight, think that 1BILLION people worldwide cannot even read the first sentence. When you have a paper to write for college and have to read article after article until your head is spinning with all the information, think about how lucky you are, how lucky you are that you are able read those articles and how lucky you are that you can write that paper. Shouldn't everyone have the right to read their local newspaper, write a letter to a friend, read their children bed time stories? If you agree, spread the word about International Literacy Day, and support our campaign Education for all!