Andrea Liao is a sixteen-year-old student and lives in Bellevue, Washington. She grew up between the bookshelves of local libraries. she found solace in the pages of books and developed her love for writing. It was her love for reading that made her believe in the importance of literacy from early years.
Over the years, she became aware of the high illiteracy rates in her home state of Washington in contrast to the low illiteracy rates in other countries around the world. There, 38% of children live in households struggling to meet basic needs—that adds up to more than 600,000 children. Economically disadvantaged children will fall behind their wealthier peers because they simply cannot access to books or are not exposed to activities that stimulate the development of reading and writing skills.
Nevertheless, every child regarding his or her socio-economic background should have access to books from an early age in order to develop good reading and writing skills that will lay the foundation for achieving better opportunities in life and brighter future. Children who read frequently from a young age enter school with larger vocabularies and more advanced comprehension skills. According to UNICEF, reading will also aid early cognitive development. Under this fact. Andrea truly believes that there is a huge need of providing books to kids from a disadvantaged background can be a step towards closing the gap.
In the summer of 2017, Andrea started her own organization called ‘Book the Future’. This initiative is focused on global youth literacy and envisions a world where all children are able to grow up with ample access to books.
Her organization holds monthly book drives in support of foster care homes, orphanages, refugee families, churches, children’s hospitals and more. In one year, she has delivered nearly 1,000 used children’s books to local institutions in Bellevue and Seattle. Now she is working on a project to start a library in Ghana, in collaboration with the African Library Project.
Some children around the world and even in your community may never experience the wonder of opening a book. They might not know what it feels discovering all the characters and stories within a book. The good thing is that everyone of us have the chance to help change this!
Remember always, big and small actions are important in the process to eradicate illiteracy in the world. As Andrea, you can develop an initiative within your community. You have the power to create awareness or fundraise to support the literacy cause locally and internationally.
Today, the World Literacy Foundation invite all young people to be part of the Youth Ambassador Program. This six-months program gathers young individuals from different countries who want to be part of the change. We empower and mentor them to advocate and fundraise for literacy and education as a human right.
If you are between 14 to 24 years old and are interested in this program, please visit the following link: www.worldliteracyfoundation.org