Words create worlds

Published: 8th Sep 2014 by Mark Griffiths
Categories: Sustainability

Celebrate the International Day of Literacy and Sustainable Development

Literacy and sustainable development – two concepts that are indivisibly linked, yet which can seem so far away for so many people.

We wake up this morning to a new working week. Before we know it, we’ve switched on our mobiles (if we ever turned them off) and are taking in a vast array of information from the personal to the global. It’s easy for us – we’re literate. It’s something we take for granted as we make our way to work at the beginning of another week with a company that we expect to be here next week, next year, as it has been in time past. In much of the under-developed world, however, both the ability to read and predictable income can seem luxuries.

So, 8 September is a special day for anyone promoting sustainable development.  

It’s especially poignant for Ideal Worldsmiths - a business that has just relaunched with the intention of putting sustainability into words.

Literacy is a human right. Why, then, for so many people, is it a human wrong? Look at the projections in this infographic:

Nearly 16% of the world’s population is illiterate – that’s 781 million people.    

171 million would be out of poverty if children in low income countries left school with basic reading skills.

42% of children in poor and conflict-affected areas are out of school - living in a conflict-affected area increases the chances of never becoming literate.

Nothing changes for the better as much as when women become literate. While International Literacy Day is celebrated worldwide today, the main event is taking place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the Government and UNESCO are hosting the International Conference on ‘Girls’ and women’s literacy and education. Far, far away, if you raise your head and take a moment, you can sense life changing, as words create worlds.

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