Reading and writing are skills many of us take for granted. Whether you’re reviewing information at work or catching up on one of your favorite novels on the weekend, your ability to communicate through the written word is essential to everyday life. The truth is that literacy is one of the strongest indicators of economic independence and future success, but there is still a shocking number of adults across the world who can’t read. Illiteracy is still a problem, and the key to reducing it is by focusing on children’s literacy.
At the beginning of the 21st century, UNICEF estimated that nearly one billion people were unable to read or write– women made up about two-thirds of this group. Today, about 750 million people across the world are illiterate and most of that group are women. The issue of illiteracy stems primarily from insufficient access to education, a problem that tends to affect young girls to a greater degree.
In many places around the world, high school fees and demanding home lives force families to choose which of their children will go to school. Oftentimes, girls are kept home to care for siblings or help parents with work. When girls don’t learn how to read or write, they have trouble pursuing an economically stable career. Girls who are kept out of school are far more likely to have children and marry at a young age. In turn, their children have less access to education because of financial limitations.
When children learn to read and write, they can access opportunities that otherwise would have been unattainable. Learning to read in school key to their success in other areas of study. In fact, children who read and write are far more likely to perform well in math and other subjects. Children’s literacy is crucial when it comes to promoting economic empowerment around the world.
Moving in the right direction
At Quechua Benefit, we have focused many of our programs on promoting children’s literacy in the highlands of Peru. At Casa Chapi, our boarding school in Peru, we have worked tirelessly to help children develop reading and writing skills. Through instruction in both Quechua, the regional language, and Spanish, teachers have helped students outperform the international grade standard. On average, children at Casa Chapi are reading at a words-per-minute rate that’s 20 percent above their grade level.
If you want to find out more about what we’re doing, or learn how you can be a part of it, contact us today.