September 8 is celebrated as International Literacy Day across the world. To quote Irina Bokova, former Director-General of UNESCO: The future begins with the alphabet.
Literacy as a part of education is a fundamental requirement and a key criterion to bring about a better way of life (which includes gender equality, lifelong education, poverty alleviation, increasing employment opportunities, skill building etc.). In other words, it is the cornerstone of development.
In a world now plagued by myriad social issues, conflicts, the literacy aspect has been heavily challenged, especially in these pandemic-ridden situations.
Nations are struggling to restore the damage that the COVID-19 situation has caused. It would not be wrong to see literacy as one of the major casualties of the coronavirus.
So, taking into account the gravity of the situation this World Literacy Day, why not find out some of the ways we can promote literacy at the local level and participate in mitigating the challenge!
1. Donations: You may know of various non-governmental organizations, or any non-profit organization dedicated to improving literacy. Try to help them promote their education programs by donating money.
2. I. Contribution to small libraries: Donations should not only be in the form of cash but also in other forms such as through books. Your donation of books to libraries will be a big boost towards the spread of education. Local libraries in your neighborhood (street libraries) will benefit from your used books. It is a great way to promote literacy at the local level.
ii. Contribute stationary items, uniforms and food to local childrenSo that they are willing to take education. This will boost their morale and also in the process of literacy. After all, charity should not be limited to money alone.
3. I. Volunteer to teach: Participate in literacy programs in your area. You can voluntarily read aloud to children as it helps develop early literacy and social skills. Your small act of kindness will help in increasing the literacy rate.
II Host a book club in your area. Take the initiative and select interesting, innovative topics and books to discuss among local children to generate interest and increase literacy.
4. Encourage vaccination; You can ensure a safe return to school by supporting the vaccine drive. Help children get vaccinated so schools can reopen. Many cannot afford digital learning, and will face challenges if schools remain closed as a result. Therefore, promote vaccination so that children can go back to school.