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2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the celebration of the International Day of Literacy which was established in 1966. UNESCO sought to “actively mobilise the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.”

UNESCO says the following about Literacy: Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy. Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy..

Soroptimist clubs see education as central to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and assist children and adults in a variety of ways to become literate in many areas. Below are some examples of work being undertaken by clubs in our Federation.

Promoting Literacy Through Local Community Projects

SI Devonport, Australia - Literacy and Learning for a whole Year.

SI Devonport had a project that arose from the local mayor’s decision that, in their town, there should be a focus on Literacy and Learning for 12 months.

This somewhat unexpected decision needed some outside the box thinking on implementation and the mayor approached the club for their support. A project was designed to help encourage reading in children outside of schooling hours and this included the idea of distributing children’s books within hairdressers salons.

Children could read while their hair was being cut. As part of the project, children were encouraged to read to the hairdresser and receive 50 cents for their savings. SI Devonport purchased over 100 books. Members covered these books, put a Soroptimist sticker in each book and then distributed them to 10 to 12 hair salons within the local area. Hairdresser salons reported that children use these books often and the opportunity to read for pleasure is a valuable use of time.