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International Literacy Day: The Goal of Education for All

Hayley Diverio and Alexis Grieco are creating literacy/health backbacks for kindergarten students living in the largest slum in East Africa. More...
Hayley and Alexis collecting backpack supplies

On International Literacy Day each year, we join with UNESCO to remind the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.

International Literacy Day BannerSome 774 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 72.1 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

Growing up in a plastic bag shack, literacy IS the best remedy
Kibera plastic bag shack

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, has noted that: “Literacy strengthens the capabilities of people to take advantage of healthcare and educational opportunities – for example, by seeking medical help for themselves and a sick child, by adopting preventive health measures such as immunisation, and by acquiring greater knowledge of family planning methods.[…]. Educated parents, especially mothers – whether through formal schooling or adult programmes – are more likely to send their children to school and have a better understanding of their healthcare needs.”

Mrs. Grace Okinyo and Mr. Peter Okinyo (sitting towards the right) converted their property into the Nazarene school--a safe haven for dozens of children in Kibera--Kenya's largest slum
Mrs. Grace Okinyo and Mr. Peter Okinyo

"Literacy is a powerful yet too often overlooked remedy to health threats, with the potential to promote better nutrition, disease prevention and treatment," Matsuura noted.

Founded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Literacy Day is observed annually since 1965 on September 8 and focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. Millions of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education. On ILD, individuals, organizations, and countries throughout the world renew efforts to promote literacy and demonstrate their commitment to providing education for all.

With the Nazarene School, local children
now have a healthy, safe refuge
Nazarene School in Kibera, Kenya

The Global Literacy Project's "Classroom Connections" Initiative

Recognizing International Literacy Day GLP continues to connect classrooms in the USA with classrooms in South Africa, Kenya and the Caribbean. These classrooms will work on projects such as creating a shared novel or book or poetry. The final products will be published and provided to participants as an incentive to continue reading and writing.

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