Today is the first day of school at our house and across much of North America. Students headed back to teachers, pencils, books and all that comes with our education system. As much as there was a certain amount of nerves at play, we were all pretty excited for the new school year here. I kissed my children this morning and wished them well, as their new teachers called their names and led them away. Let their formal education resume once more!
Not all children are so lucky though. There are many across the world who do not have the good fortune to go to school. As much as literacy rates are fairly high in North America, there are still a shocking number of people who cannot read here and elsewhere in the world. The idea of not being able to read a book or even the myriad of signs that surround me on a daily basis is more than I can comprehend. Words are not only my business, but also my fondest pastime. I love reading!
While not everyone is as much of a book lover as me, the ability to read is incredibly important. It helps predict success in life and highlights the threat of poverty. As a woman, I am especially concerned with the higher illiteracy rates for my sisters across the globe. Knowing the lack of education often equates to a more difficult lot in life is frustrating. Why is this still happening? We need to do more for women, but progress doesn’t happen fast enough for those at risk.
On International Literacy Day, I celebrate school and the opportunities it brings for everyone. I always enjoyed school and my children love it too. I know the education they receive will take them far in life. And I pray that we can improve the lot of those who need a piece of that gift too. Let’s all do our part to stamp out global illiteracy and make the world a better, and more well-read place.