Celebrate International Literacy Day
September 8 is International Literacy Day. Why do we need International Literacy Day? Can’t most everybody read?
According to UNESCO, 781 million adults and 126 million children worldwide cannot read. More than 60% of the world’s illiterate population are women.
UNESCO views literacy as a fundamental human right. As a Rotarian, I donate $2 from every book sold at Rotary events to Rotary Literacy initiatives like Rotary Reader, a program that promotes reading in public schools. On Tuesday, my home club is collecting children’s books to donate to school libraries. Another area club gave Rotary bookmarks to schools.
When I was growing up, I never watched a cartoon without seeing commercials for “Reading Is Fundamental.” I read to travel, to experience alternate worlds, to meet people I’d never meet in real life, to explore ideas and opinions that differed from mine. I cannot imagine what my childhood would’ve been like without books, and I despair when I hear someone say, “I don’t have time to read,” or, “Reading is a waste of time.” Not because I’m a writer, but because I never would’ve walked the Natchez Trace if I didn’t first read a book: Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose.
One book launched me on a life-altering adventure, but it’s one of many. I’ve traveled to specific places to see something I imagined through a book. I’ve gone out of my way to experience all manner of performance. I’ve met specific people because a story inspired me to try.
What adventures are we missing today because we don’t make time to read? How could we take books and change the lives of people who can’t read?
Celebrate International Literacy Day by giving a book to a child in your life or by donating a book to a school library in your area. You can learn more about International Literacy Day by following the links here: