Until five years ago, I took my ability to read for granted. But five years ago I went to Japan to teach English and my life changed a little bit.
I could no longer read. I mean, obviously I could still read anything in English, but I couldn't read billboards. Or signs in stores. Or ingredients in food. Or train station signs. Or notices and bills that showed up in my mailbox. For someone who is totally accustomed to getting the vast majority of their information through reading, it was a very hard transition.
That experience gave me a tiny glimpse of what life is like for the person who cannot read. For the past three years, I have been brought much deeper into that reality working in an adult literacy and English language acquisition program. Illiteracy or poor reading skills are strongly tied with poor self-esteem, crime, poor nutrition, and poverty.
There are over 860 million illiterate adults globally, two-thirds of which are women. Many believe that literacy is the key to advancing societies and improving job prospects. I know this to be true. I have watched adults with little to no reading skill complete their studies with me having gained new self-confidence, the ability to participate in new ways with life (choose greeting cards, help their kids with homework, read their mail), and receive promotions at work.
Did you wake up this morning and read your Bible? Did you check your email? Did you write a check, or look over your children's homework? Please take a moment and enjoy the gift that just being able to read this blog post is!
I believe that not only will literacy for the world improve the prospect of jobs for those trapped in the cycle of poverty and self-defeat, I also believe that it will lead to a more peaceful earth. When we read, we broaden our world.
I have chosen to highlight the organization Proliteracy Worldwide. Proliteracy works in 65 developing nations around the world. If you visit their website, you can learn how to donate to their cause, about their advocacy program, and even find a program to volunteer your time to help others learn to read.
Join me today in praying for those who have limited opportunity and are trapped in a cycle of poverty because of their illiteracy. Pray that God would provide opportunities and willing workers to meet this need in their lives. I believe that words are close to the heart of God. He created us with fantastic brains that can read stories of Him. I wish for everyone to have that chance.
I will be twittering today during my fast. Follow me if you wish!
April is blogging today for Team 2! She has chosen to tell us about the Mocha Club (I can't have a mocha today) go on over and read her post!