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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Sept. 8, 2012) – Heifer International is observing International Literacy Day on September 8th, 2012, stressing that education and literacy are vital to improving the livelihoods of individuals and families everywhere. Heifer’s emphasis on training, education and self-reliance works hand-in-hand with efforts to spread literacy through every corner of the globe.
Illiteracy poses an immense barrier to anyone seeking to improve his or her circumstances. Reading is the door through which people can access health care, employment, transportation, and basic goods. Women in particular have higher rates of illiteracy and are marginalized because of this.
Literacy Day, established by UNESCO in the 1960s, is a chance to draw attention to the continuing prevalence of illiteracy, and to emphasize that a lack of education is unacceptable in any society that wishes to discover the full potential of its people.
Nou Yean in Cambodia was distressed when she couldn’t help her children with their studies because she had never received the chance to learn to read. When she began to attend Heifer International’s trainings, including literacy classes, her husband mocked her, saying she was too old to learn to read and write. But in less than a year, Yean learned the alphabet, full words, and began to write sentences. She’s delighted at her new ability, and no longer afraid of being cheated at the market.
“My husband recognizes my capability,” Yean said. “He helps do household chores, and encourages me to go to class on time. My life has been improved.”
Learning to read is a transformational and empowering experience, whether it happens in childhood or later on. Trainings of all kinds, including literacy, continue to be central to Heifer International’s mission of ending hunger and poverty around the world. A brighter future for all communities is dependent on the enlightenment that occurs through education.
About Heifer International:
Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in 40 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit www.heifer.orgor call (800) 696-1918.