Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Charity Tuesday: World Literacy Canada and Pro Literacy

            If you're reading this post, you’re very fortunate. There are too many people in the world who lack one of the fundamental skills of self-sufficiency: the ability to read.

            Today, we’re highlighting two more charities promoted by Sylvain Reynard : World Literacy Canada and Pro Literacy. Both organizations bring resources to people in the United States, Canada, and around the world to help them learn to read, giving them the chance to create a much better future for themselves, their families, and their society.

            World Literacy Canada uses literacy to fight poverty and promote social justice. The organization views literacy as a crucial tool in advancing the cause of equality, and it focuses many of its programs on women and children.  They work through community-based projects in Canada, India and Nepal. WorldLit Canada believes that the knowledge, enlightenment and confidence fostered by the ability to read help ensure democracy in the areas they serve.

            ProLiteracy is an international organization based in Syracuse, NY. It was formed in 2002, when two leading literacy groups (Laubach Literacy International and Literacy Volunteers of America) merged. ProLiteracy remains committed to using the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults, their families, and their communities.  The organization features a national network of literacy programs, new international initiatives, and expanded opportunities for adult learners.

             I’ve been fortunate enough to see first-hand how effective the adult reading programs can be. Years ago, I was a tutor with the literacy program in the city where I was living at the time. My student was a young man who’d barely mastered the most basic words, and yet sadly, he’d been passed along from grade to grade in school. He wanted to marry his girlfriend, and as part of their life together, he was determined to learn to read better. He was also very interested in advancing in his job.

            He worked in maintenance for a local cemetery, but he was clearly bright and ambitious enough to work up to a higher level.  One of the things I’ll always remember about him, besides his commitment and intelligence, is an experience he relayed to me when we first met. He was charged with the responsibility of bringing the deceased, in the coffin, to a gravesite. He said he had a card in his hand with the person’s name on it.  He had to look among all the headstones and match, letter for letter, the name of the person to make sure he’d brought the coffin to the right location.

            Can you imagine if your loved one was placed in the wrong grave because someone couldn’t read?

           Think of being unable to read the directions on a bottle of medicine for you or your child. Imagine a world where magazines, newspapers and the Internet were beyond your reach because you couldn’t comprehend what’s written. 

            (If that doesn’t get to you, just consider how empty your life would be if you weren’t able to read  “Gabriel’s Inferno” and “Gabriel’s Redemption.”)

            Please consider donating to these worthy causes. If you or a loved one has any experience with them, please let us know.

World Literacy Canada
Web site:  http://www.worldlit.ca/
Twitter: @WorldLit
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/worldlit

Pro Literacy
Web site:  http://www.proliteracy.org/
Twitter:  @ProLitWorld
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ProLitWorld


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