September 8th marks the International celebration and awareness campaign on literacy. The holiday was declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1964. Year round UNESCO seeks to keep literacy high on national, regional and international agendas. Through literacy programs UNESCO aims to create a literate world and promote literacy for all.
Today one in five adults (around 796 million) lack minimum literacy skills, with two-thirds of them being women. 67.4 million children throughout the world are not enrolled in school and miss out on basic fundamentals of education.
UNESCO states the importance of literacy on their website:
“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. There are good reasons why literacy is at the core of Education for All (EFA).
A good quality basic education equips pupils with literacy skills for life and further learning; literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing development .”
We invite you to celebrate this international awareness day by taking time to read to your child, visit the library or donate to a book drive! And if you’re looking for a way to give back to the community, we encourage you to donate books or your time to local literacy non-profit, Page Ahead, who recently distributed their two-millionth book to a child in need!