Every year on September 8, International Literacy Day is celebrated to bring attention to and concern for literacy issues that exist both locally and globally. The United Nations  Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, established International Literacy Day in 1966 "to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights," and it returns responsibility for the problems of illiteracy to local communities where literacy begins, one person at a time.



Despite significant improvements in literacy rates during the more than 50 years since the first International Literacy Day, illiteracy is still a major issue on a global scale. It is estimated that more than 750 million adults worldwide are illiterate. No country or culture on earth is immune to the affliction of illiteracy, including the United States, where an estimated 32 million Americans lack basic literacy skills.


What is literacy, exactly?

Literacy is described as "the quality or state of being literate: to read and write" in the Miriam-Webster Dictionary. You probably spend a lot of time reading online, so it may come as a surprise to hear that there are people living and working in your area who are unable to read not only this post but also books, menus at restaurants, traffic signs, voting ballots, instructions, prescription bottle labels, and cereal boxes.

Can you picture surviving in today's world without the fundamental skills of reading and writing? The goal of International Literacy Day is to eradicate illiteracy in every local community around the globe.

 The idea for International Literacy Day was initially proposed during the Tehran, Iran-hosted "World Conference of Ministers of Education for the Eradication of Illiteracy" in 1965. In the year that followed, UNESCO took the initiative and established September 8 as International Literacy Day, with the main objective being " remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities, and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies." One year later, the world community took up the challenge of eradicating illiteracy by taking part in the first International Literacy Day.



A gift that is frequently taken for granted is literacy. In our daily lives, reading is crucial. Being unable to read or write makes it difficult to get around and prevents you from enjoying a wide variety of things.

On International Literacy Day, groups and people step up and use their literacy to support and encourage those who are having trouble reading and writing. Volunteers from the community, including students and working adults, tutor local children, donate books to local libraries, and sponsor a student's tuition and education to help them succeed in life.

To plan and carry out the best strategies for the abolition of illiteracy, institutions, government- and international organizations hold think tanks and debate forums in addition to organizing grassroots literacy campaigns. They additionally hold fundraising events. Every year, a theme is chosen for International Literacy Day as a means of raising public awareness of a particular subject.


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