This year, UNESCO has put the emphasis on women readers, as ILD organizers note that, of the 776 million illiterate people in the Global South, 2/3rds are women.
I have not found any International Literacy Day events in the Arabic-reading world (we could certainly use them, as our cumulative literacy rates stand at 62.7%), but there are several global awareness-raising campaigns, such as Room to Read’s Tweet for Literacy.
UNESCO notes on their website that the adult literacy rate increased by about eight percentage points globally over the past 20 years—an increase of six percent for men and 10% for women. Progress was quite strong in Northern Africa, where the rate increased by 20%.
However, other places in the Arabic-reading world have suffered. In Iraq, for instance, literacy rates have gone from around 90 percent in the 1980s to 78 percent in 2008.
- Donate books or money to the Free Gaza Movement’s Right to Read Campaign.
- Support Room to Read’s global literacy campaign.
Ways to support local literacy:
- Read a book in public! Reading encourages more reading.
- If you have a friend or relative with a new baby (particularly one who can’t afford to buy books), check out this post about 6 Great Arabic Books for Baby
- Donate your used books to doctors’ offices, preschools, or anywhere you think children (or grown-ups) might pick them up and read them.
- If you know a child heading off to school for the first time, you can buy them one of these Books to Help Get Ready for School
- And summer may be ending, but the suggestions in our FUN Summer Reading for Kids section still hold true. For kids 0-12+.