Cause, Effect, Solution: 2.0

Another essential piece of the puzzle – a detailed look at the repercussions of illiteracy.

Last time, I outlined some of the main causes of global illiteracy, such as a lack of books in children’s native language and an equally dire lack of teachers sufficiently trained to encourage reading skills development. Today I would like to delve into the far-reaching impact of illiteracy on millions of lives.

The consequences of this issue:

  • Children whose interest and ability in reading has been neglected during their formative years face severely limited future opportunities in terms of education, employment, personal wealth and growth.
  • As a result, they cannot effectively contribute to society or the economic development of their home country, and their family cannot escape the cycle of poverty for another full generation.
  • Literacy can empower various social groups – such as women and marginalised minorities, yet if these segments of society remain illiterate, they face further oppression and loss of independence.
  • Moreover, literacy is strongly linked with education regarding safe-sex practices, and the lack thereof can increase such risks as HIV or early marriage, and unwanted pregnancy.
  • Studies indicate that illiterate youths and adults experience life-long powerlessness, shame, and ultimately resentment towards education or situations which require reading and writing skills. Children growing up in such households can absorb such sentiments regarding education. This is a potential trap for every illiterate person and can further drive this multi-generational crisis.

Finally, on a more personal level, relevant even to those of us fortunate enough to live in developed countries, ask yourselves these questions: How does an illiterate person pay the bills or secure housing? Make educated medical decisions or manage insurance? How does one improve their children’s future or support them in their education? Clearly, the effects of illiteracy are far-reaching and potentially crippling for both individual and societal development. Remember: this issue affects over 800 million people globally!

My final update will be centred around the concrete actions taken by literacy charities to solve this problem. Understanding how our contributions are helping can be truly inspiring!

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this sequel to my SeriousTM TED talk.