"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" - Frederick Douglas
Language fails to describe the enormity of our dream. Allow us to dream, or as John Lennon’s said, to imagine, a world where every human being has from birth the conditions to make effective the right to basic literacy as an instrument and precondition for achieving other rights, including the right to play.
Imagine all the knowledge that would spark from children having access and enjoying the basic ability of reading, writing and thinking in mathematical terms? Frederick Douglas said it beautifully: “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
There are some dangers that come with romanticizing literacy as a solution for all problems, while ignoring the intricacies of society that limit the conditions of many. However, in todays world, basic literacy can no longer be the source of social and economic exclusion. Despite that, 798 million adults in the world can’t read and understand a sentence. 123 million youth are illiterate and 150 million children do not attend school. Of the children who attend school, nearly 3/4 lack basic reading and writing skills even after completing 4 years of education, thus making them unable to continue their education and limiting their prospects in life.
So we envision a world without children “failing” basic literacy and numeracy classes, or unable to achieve these fundamental skills. We imagine a school where the role of the teacher is that of a partner in playful discovery. We imagine a whole new paradigm of classroom, beyond walls and calendars, where every park, every tree shade, every home table, any floor carpet or mat is a school beyond the school, a classroom beyond a classroom and a lesson beyond a lesson. We imagine a world where math is no longer a punishment but a joy, and where children go to school to teach as well as to learn from their classmates and adults, and vice versa.
Yes, we like to imagine but to go beyond the dream and take every day actions. We work every day to make sure that one day, in the very near future, every child, everywhere, has access to developing effectively, enjoyable and in a timely manner the most basic tools required to read the world and write its future.
“You may say I am a dreamer but I am not the only one. I hope one day you’ll join us” to make illiteracy for young and adults obsolete.