A great playwright once wrote, All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. However, I like to think of the world as a library and each and every person a book with their own individual story to tell. But, what if you opened your book and the pages were blank, or worse still, the words so incomprehensible that you couldn’t understand the story? Sadly, for 20% of the world’s population, this is a reality, they can’t read.
In 2003 Andrew Kay decided to establish the World Literacy Foundation in an attempt to change the future of learning throughout the world. Andrew isn’t a superhero from a comic book, or a hotshot from the pages of an action novel, he’s just an everyday person like the rest of us. The group that he founded now work towards empowering young people around the globe with the simple everyday skill of reading.
Facing the task of supplying materials for areas in desperate need of an education, the foundation collaborates with other groups via a global network on several projects to provide learning tools for those who would otherwise go without. With a band of volunteers, they deliver the important resources required in places that wouldn’t necessarily have access.
One device in particular, the Sun Books Tablet, has been provided to regions in Africa. Powered by the sun, it requires no electricity. The tablet is preloaded with local content as well as information from all over the world, so an internet connection isn’t required. Not only are these kids learning, they’re e-learning on touch screens which is definitely the way of the world as we know it. This product isn’t just innovative in a teaching perspective, but cost effective too. Just one way that the WLF is using an everyday item that most of us take for granted, in a remarkable way.
The World Literacy Foundation are also co-organisers of the World Literacy Summit. In March 2018 the third summit will be held in Oxford UK and covers several educational topics and provides the opportunity to share ideas. Awards in recognition of work carried out in the literary field are also delivered at the summit, so let’s hope that this project is acknowledged.
Our future rests in the hands of our children and the WLF Youth Ambassador Program encourages young people from all cultures to get involved in community awareness and fundraising for the many ongoing projects. This global group work cohesively to raise awareness of illiteracy and encourage others to get involved. These young people are respected in their effort to inspire the public to realise the difficulties faced without the ability to read.
International literacy day is on the 8th of September, but don’t wait that long, you can get involved now. Volunteers are accepted at any time and whether you just want to take part in a fun run to raise money or get involved in a project, there’s always room for one more.
We all face struggles in life and most hurdles can be taken in a calm and natural stride, but when the door in front of you is locked, the key to opening it might just be something as everyday as learning to read. So why not help the rest of the world.
If you would like to become a volunteer or donate, please visit the website. www.worldliteracyfoundation.org