After a quick 10 hour flight to London, we caught a train and headed west to Oxford, to attend the World Literacy Summit 2012. Grabbing all of our lighting bags, camera bags and suitcases we made our way to the beautiful campus of Trinity College to begin our 3 days filled with information, training, photographing and sharing. We met wonderful people from several parts of the world all gathered to share, compare and create new ways to combat this terrible disease we call “illiteracy”. With 67 million primary school aged kids not attending schools, and 796 million people in the world that lack basic literacy skills, this is definitely a disease that is spreading and needs to be addressed on several serious fronts.
As we traveled to the summit I found myself reciting these few questions in my mind: 1) What can I personally learn? 2) What can we at E3 do? 3) How can we use our experiences and understandings to help promote literacy around the world? No small order!
Here is a small portion of some of the answers that came after attending the summit.
1) There is a direct correlation between poverty & literacy. The poorer the community the more illiterate the community and vice versa. When people have knowledge, they can elevate their lives! There are many schools in the world full of teachers with insufficient training, a lack of material and a lack of instructional focus (Makes me want to recruit teachers to go teach teachers!) Children have a universal hunger for reading. Literacy is not just about reading, it is about reading, writing, listening, and speaking! (LitWorld.org) One in 5 adults cannot read.
2) Obviously E3 Imagine is one tiny thread in a giant tapestry of those wanting to help and do something to change the lives of children throughout the world. But after attending the World summit I came to realize even more, that every small thread is important. E3 might be small, but we have grand hopes of making a difference in many lives. Seeing the great things people are doing in organizations such as Litworld, Worldreader.org, Room to Read and African Library Project, among others, inspired us to keep working at it. All of these great organizations are made up of people – just like you and me!
3) How can E3 use what we know to help? We move forward just like we have. Developing great products, getting the word out, working hard each day, sharing what we know and look for ways to lift and inspire those around us. AND by giving a book to a child in these underdeveloped countries for every book we sell. One child at a time!
The World Literacy Summit didn’t change the world overnight! But it definitely put a lot of great people with great ideas moving in the right direction.
Just this morning I received a call from a friend I made in Nairobi. I spent a total of about 1/2 hour with my new friend Roselyn while there, but Roselyn continues to keep me motivated. She works hard and prays hard everyday as she see’s the people she loves dealing with issues that could be avoided if they just had knowledge.
That can only change when we help them fight this disease we call illiteracy!!