When I was a little girl, I did not enjoy reading. To help boost my enthusiasm, Grandpa gave me a book with a dollar bill. He told me, “If you finish reading the entire book, you get to keep the dollar.” My love for my grandpa and my interest in the dollar sparked a new-found intrigue to explore books. Exploration turned into love. Ever since, reading and writing have been at the top of my list of hobbies.
The thought never occurred to me in my school days that kids all over the world never got the opportunity to explore reading. Their families were not thinking of giving them a book. Their priorities were on life-or-death matters like how to give their kids clean water and food.
The idea of literacy may seem small compared to more pressing matters in the day-to-day. However, it affects nearly every aspect of life. It trickles down to future generations. Food for the Hungry (FH) recognizes that poverty is complex. Our programs work to address the problem on all fronts.
Literacy and Health
According to UNESCO, education is directly tied to literacy. It can help reduce child mortality rates, improve maternal health and combat preventable diseases. Education empowers people to make positive decisions about their health and wellness.
Literacy and Finances
Imagine not having the ability to read a job description, apply for a job or know the content of a contract you sign. Those are typically the basic steps of finding a job or starting a business. According to The Literacy Foundation, illiterate individuals have fewer job choices and incomes. This makes it harder for parents to provide for their families. Tragically, it continues the cycle of poverty.
Literacy and Gender Equality
Nearly 17 percent of the world’s adult population cannot read. Two-thirds of them are women. This makes gender inequality even greater. Women have more of a voice in their homes and make the best decisions for their families when given the same opportunity for education as men. Studies show that women with higher education levels better use family planning, help produce higher crop yields and keep their children in school longer.
Literacy and Self-confidence
As you can imagine with the effects on health, finances and equality, illiteracy also spawns low self-esteem. Often, low self-esteem leads to isolation. There is power in confidence, critical thinking and community. At FH, our programs help educate parents and children. This gives them tools they need to break generational cycles of poverty.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day, we invite you to join our efforts to provide educational programs to vulnerable communities across the globe. Everyone deserves the right to an education. Learn how you can get involved by visiting http://fh.org/work/causes/education.
Want to learn more about the causes and sustainable solutions to poverty?
Download our FREE eBook, The Remarkable Truth About Ending Extreme Poverty. It will help you:
- Understand the root causes of poverty
- Discover solutions that don’t create dependency
- Identify ways you can make a difference in a world where 1.6 billion people survive on less than $1.25 per day!