I was recently catching up with my missed youtube videos when an advert popped up on my screen. I must admit, I’m normally a fast skipper when it comes to adverts. However, this one completely captivated me and by the time I had finished watching I was eager to get involved. Project Literacy is, as stated on their website, “a global movement convened by Pearson to make significant and sustainable advances in the fight against illiteracy so that all people – regardless of geography, language, race, class, or gender – have the opportunity to fulfil their potential through the power of words.”
I have been in a position of privilege for the majority of my life: I am white, middle class and come from a comfortably well-off family. However, I still do struggle with my own experience of oppression in terms of sexuality, mental health etc. and I truly cannot imagine not having literature as a crutch. Representation is something I think is truly crucial to have a functioning and well-run society. I’m studying Comparative Literature at University and getting the opportunity to read widely for a degree is my ideal. Books have the power to change lives. I know this because they’ve changed mine and the idea that someone could miss out on that simply because of their race, language, geography, class or gender is saddening. Project Literacy are pushing for a change to not only literacy rates but the wider state of literacy in general.
I’m in the position where my local library is only 10 minutes down the road and due to the internet, everything is easily accessible but this isn’t the case for everyone. There are over 757 million people in the world (and the number grows) who can’t read and therefore are outcasted from a society that increasingly relies on being able to read. It is seen as being a flaw and a trait of being unintelligent however if you don’t offer people the tools, how are they expected to reach their potential.
Project Literacy really is a great project to back. It’d be great if you could help in any way you can, there are volunteer opportunities all over the world, donation pages and infographics to share on social media. Here’s their website if you’d like to get involved: https://www.projectliteracy.com.