For over 50 years, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) has celebrated International Literacy Day, and with good reason. Literacy plays a pivotal role in life. The late Kofi Annan coined it when he said, “Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realise his or her full potential.”

Literacy helps to lift people out of poverty

Being able to read, write and understand what you’re reading puts you at a huge advantage in life, adding to your quality of life, and creating a foundation to develop skills which could turn into careers in adulthood. Sadly, a global study conducted in 2016 showed that 78% of South African Grade 4 children could not read with understanding in any language.

Literacy helps to empower girls

According to UNESCO, women make up over two-thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate individuals. This statistic correlates with an estimation that 60% of chronically hungry people are women and girls.2 When the cycle of illiteracy is broken, girls will be in a position to become economically active and independent, gaining a priceless attribute to unlocking their own success: self-respect.

Literacy helps the larger community prosper

When more people are literate in the community, less community members are likely to rely on social grants; pursuing entrepreneurship and facilitating employment for more individuals. The result? A thriving, educated, self-sufficient society.

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