This year’s annual International Literacy Day as established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary on 8 September 2016. This year’s theme is “Reading the Past, Writing the Future” and serves to remember and honor the past fifty years of engagement, efforts and progress to increase literacy rates around the world while also marking the current challenges and innovative solutions needed to boost literacy rates around the world.
UNESCO proclaimed International Literacy Day fifty years ago to actively mobilise and promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies. Literacy is a key part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” with a target that by 2030 all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy (SDG Target 4.6).
Human Appeal views education as the key to bring sustainability to all the development goals with literacy serving as the foundation of all learning. Learning, in turn, is a powerful tool against poverty that works to promote social and human progress. Since its founding twenty-five years ago, education has always been a pillar of Human Appeal's work. Children sponsored and given the chance for education through the organisation's fledgling programmes back then dreamt of becoming doctors and teachers as children still do now. In fact, some of the earliest children helped by Human Appeal have gone on to be successful doctors and teachers across East Africa and South Asia
Human Appeal continues its works around the world promoting literacy and better education for all through a range of ground-breaking programmes. Its child sponsorship programming guarantees a child's right to education across more than ten countries. In Azad Jammu Kashmir, Pakistan, the Ehsaas quality education project is benefitting over 772 high schools and secondary schools, through innovative techniques, enhancing not only the teacher and student relationship but developing skills like critical thinking, writing and public speaking among the children. A total of 83,799 teachers and students have been provided with participatory sessions which work in parallel to accompanying and appropriate reference materials. In response to the situation in Syria, 446 out-of-school children affected by conflict have improved their reading, writing and math skills through the Dir Hassan education project in Idleb. Across the border, over 560 out-of-school Syrian refugee children have been re-enrolled to continue their education in Antakya, Turkey in a school supported by Human Appeal while a number of new education programmes across the region are in different stages of initiation.
Othman Moqbel, CEO of Human Appeal stated: “We thank all our partners in the field, in the UK and around the world in working with us to facilitate access to education for children who are victims of circumstances ranging from conflict and displacement to economic difficulties. We’re firmly committed in working towards the goal of universal primary education by reaching more out-of-school children, in more communities in order to transform their life chances.”