Sweating in a well-ventilated room harmonized by a nerve cracking heartbeat, I was standing as my teacher waited my lips to utter the words written on a blackboard. I felt like I was the least among the class but that moment, I was the apple of the eye.
I was once a slow reader and a lot of shapes and lines written on my head until I’ve learned how to read. Significantly, my family autocratically taught me how to read and write and my childhood was the real score why working against illiteracy was very close to my heart. The kids being very destructed by digitalization or hindered by poverty.
I know how does it feel to be the least, to be laughed and belittled instead helped only because I am a slow reader.
Illiteracy is a birthday challenge that every family needs to build up with into the child’s growth. It is necessary to teach and guide a young mind to learn at young age. Reading and writing are both macro skills that every individual needs to acquire to progress. Meaningfully, when I was helped and learn, I took it as a huge responsibility to also share what I know. When I was in elementary, I had an eye injury after I taught my naughty classmates. In senior high school, we’ve conducted a study entitled “Reading Level Assessment Among Grade 7 Students and Factors Affecting their Reading Performance”. Meanwhile, during my service as student leader in college, I’ve been involved in various programs dealing with literacy.
Walking on the different tiles of life, I was a witness of socio and political realities. I’ve encountered indigenous people, youths, children, aged and even adults with different livelihood. But one thing generally equated my realization, “struggle”. Struggling in many different ways and my education has been my greatest weapon to contribute.
Evidently, despite of my very busy schedule and from the different side of world, I fearlessly click the application form for the World Literacy Foundation Ambassador Program 2022 I saw on Instagram. It was a fulfilled dream for me to be trained and learned from international experts. My baggage that stores primary sources of situations concerning illiteracy put me on a decision to join WLF Program, but my passion and commitment sustained me.
In grasping engine of globalization, digital communication become conducive for learning and my WLF experience was a global evidence. It was the right decision for right opportunity to develop my capacity. It made me understand that illiteracy problems have different versions and approaches. I was given a chance to view the global illiteracy and have comparative analysis on how to deal with my own locality. Generally, my World Literacy Foundation Ambassador Program experience was an integration of the knowledge and skills as an advocate. I was trained to be a good leader for, by and with good governance but WLF added development in administering literacy programs through fundraising, leadership and advocacy works. Importantly, I’ve incorporated an education program for IP’s through literacy and political participation discussions.
On the other hand, as an advocate of civic education, I believed that literacy is a basic civic skill that every citizen needs to learn to be an active participating citizen. Volunteering last 2022 Philippine election, I have so much sentiments affect the voting capacity of the voters especially the elders. One old women struggled in finding her name in the precinct list. However, it does not include yet the more serious decision making of an illiterate voters. Living in the Philippine setting wherein misinformation and disinformation have been the strongest enemy of truth, justice and peace, illiteracy might be one of its contributors. An illiterate citizen lost a chance to comprehend a news’s reliability and then acted based on wrong information. But reality says, we cannot blame those poor people being deprived by education and support by their times. That’s why, we as the emerging hopes of the future, I feel like it is my big responsibility to improve and develop my self to be a reliable and most relevant literacy advocate. This is my driving force recalibrated through the trainings provided by the World Literacy Foundation. A lifelong learning that I can always relearn and reassess.
Significantly, as an ambassador, I will continue to promote and take actions to combat illiteracy like transforming my Project Paghangop which aims to create learning module to capacitate children and their parents through local translations of words to easily help the young learn by their first language. Additionally, I will improve my approach and be more global through striving towards local initiatives.
Literacy is a fundamental right and the foundation for lifelong learning process. It imparts knowledge, skills and the self-confidence to integrate lives, leading to better health and income as well as fuller civic participation in the community. Technically, literacy is a key skill and a key measure of a population’s education that every one of us can contribute in any way possible. Now, as a college instructor and being part of the academe’s workforce, it would be a great platform for me to raise awareness for literacy. The incorporation of words and actions to encourage youth participation to learn, work, and go back to their roots to act against illiteracy. Thus, being with WLF is learning globally and working in the grass roots of the society.
Author: Daryl T. Lutero, Filipino, World Literacy Foundation Ambassador 2022