Literacy, the Key to Unlock Better Opportunities in Life.
If you’re able to read this, then count yourself lucky; at some point, you learned to read and write. You probably went to school and I’m guessing someone showed you a book or two in your childhood. But there are 750 million adults who still remain illiterate around the world and two-thirds of that group are women.
A couple of months ago, I had a guy delivering a cooking gas cylinder at home. I asked him how much was it for the cylinder. He gave me the receipt and told me indifferently, “I don’t know how to read… you see it for yourself”. This delivery man wouldn’t be more than 25 years of age. I looked at him in disbelief and wondered if he ever felt the disadvantage of it in his day-to-day life. This is just an incident that happened on a regular day.
I commute by local train to the office. On my way, I spend time observing people, how they are, and what they do. Many times, I observe hawkers selling stuff, impoverished people who have taken to begging, young mothers with babies, small children singing on the train to gain a penny or two – all an easy target for any anti-social activities. Many of them are trapped in poverty because of illiteracy.
The definition of literacy by a standard dictionary is the ability to read and write. But for me, it goes beyond. Literacy is the key to unlock better opportunities in life. Thanks to being literate, I can afford a decent home, good food, and healthy living.
Sadly, for people like the delivery man at my doorstep, literacy means nothing. They do not know the importance of education or are simply deprived of it because of their socio-economic conditions. They feel very comfortable with the lives they have. It could be very tough to break these barriers and pull them out of the miry clay in which they are wallowing. It certainly takes a lot of time and courage.
There are millions of children and adults who do not have the same education opportunities that we have. How their lives could be if we all have access to equal education opportunities?
Many organizations around the world work for the betterment of illiterate people. The World Literacy Foundation, for instance, does a great job providing children in need with literacy resources and mentoring to advance their learning and education.
As a literate person, I pledged to do something for the underprivileged in our own way. It is easy to teach someone to read and write as per the definition of the term. However, it is not so easy to impart knowledge on the importance of being literate. This awareness is important, until then, there will always be someone at your doorstep who cannot read what he is delivering.
Once you learn to read, you will be forever free – Frederick Douglass