Literacy is an important part of society. The ability to read and write is a necessity to be successful, but 757 million people are illiterate. They are suffering from an injustice that has been thrust upon them, and now they must face the  consequences that come with their illiteracy such as low wages, unemployment, and high exposure to crime. With any injustice, there are always advocates to combat the unfairness.  Here are three pioneers for literacy:

John Wood– is a former Microsoft Executive who left his career once he discovered his passion for promoting literacy. He is the founder of Room to Read, a non-profit organization that focuses on providing children with a proper education. Room to Read provides programs centered on gender equality, teacher training, and library and school establishment.  The organization is currently working in ten countries; Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia. Wood is also the author of two books Leaving Microsoft to Change the Word and Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy.

Tom Warth– is the founder Books for Africa, the world’s largest shipper of donated books to Africa. He was inspired by a trip to Uganda where he saw that books were non-existent in libraries. He solicited help from publishers, booksellers, and librarians to create a collection process for discarded books. The organization ships 35 million books annually to 49 countries out of two warehouses; one in St. Paul, Minnesota and one in Atlanta, GA. Their goal is to end book famine in Africa.

Pam Allyn–  is the founder of Lit World, a non-profit organization whose mission is, “to empower young people to author lives of independence, hope, and joy.” Allyn’s quest for global literacy started on a visit to Nairobi, Kenya where she witnessed the adverse effects of extreme poverty. Her experience prompted her to create a movement geared to promoting literacy as a human right. World Read Aloud Day is a cause stemmed from Lit World that is now reaching over 30 million people annually.

These pioneers for literacy have made it possible for people around the world to have access to their literacy rights. They have created environments where learning is conducive and effective. They are true heroes of literacy.


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