Happy International Literacy Day!

International Literacy Day 2010

This year’s observance of International Literacy Day highlights the central role of literacy in the empowerment of women.  Literacy transforms the lives of women, their families, communities and societies. Literate women are more likely to send their children, especially their girls, to school. By acquiring literacy, women become more economically self-reliant and more actively engaged in their country’s social, political and cultural life. All evidence shows that investment in literacy for women yields high development dividends.

—Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

There are few things in this world that have as much positive impact as educating women and girls. They benefit, their families benefit, their communities benefit, and their countries benefit. This is because they don’t just sit on their diplomas and feather their own nests, they start looking around for ways to make things better for everyone and for the future. And once that ball gets rolling there is no stopping it.

We can help to get the ball rolling by supporting organizations that promote literacy, especially among girls and women in the developing world. There are numerous charities devoted to literacy both at home and abroad. My favourites are featured in the footer of this blog. You can also find reputable and effective charities through websites like Charity Navigator (USA), Development Ratings (UK), or Canada Helps. To see what a difference it makes, read about this year’s UNESCO International Literacy Prize winners. Their accomplishments are truly inspiring.