February 26, 2016

750 million sign call to action for global literacy


Lily Cole gives a speech on behalf of Project Literacy (via Belfast Telegraph)

Lily Cole gives a speech on behalf of Project Literacy (via Belfast Telegraph)

There are around 757 million people in the world who cannot read or write.

Roughly that same number of people (as of today: 757,004,950) have signed a petition sponsored by Project Literacy that calls on the United Nations to make literacy a top priority.

“Illiteracy is the root cause of almost every major problem currently faced by humanity,” Project Literacy’s research suggests. Spokeswoman and actress Lily Cole said, “Illiteracy is not a sexy or exciting topic. It’s not confronting in its raw emotional power . . . But when you look at the relationship between illiteracy and most other global issues, a statistical pattern emerges. Illiterate people are significantly more likely to be affected by almost every major social issue.”

The organization’s goals are ambitious: by 2030, they want no child to be born “at risk of poor literacy.”

To help support Project Literacy, sign the petition here. Full text reprinted below:

Illiteracy fuels poverty, hunger, radicalization, the spread of HIV, child brides, infant mortality and gender inequality. And it has to stop. We want the UN to put literacy at the heart of every action to advance the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Read our open letter. Sign for those who can’t.



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.