SEATTLE — Activism through literature provides a better future for young children who otherwise may not have the opportunity to read. Literature can be an effective tool when it comes to alleviating poverty. Whether it be the act of reading itself or the context in which the author is writing, literary activism is an important weapon in the war against global poverty.
Access to books is becoming increasingly important in third-world countries. For example, in Ethiopia, land size is shrinking, causing major setbacks in farming production. Without a future in farming or an education that provides opportunities to learn reading and writing, the odds of children escaping poverty as adults are almost non-existent.
Save the Children
Organizations such as Save the Children and the U.S.-funded program, Tusome Project, in Kenya provide hope for illiterate children living in poverty-ridden countries. Room to Read has established libraries in many countries so that children can access literature. While this helps tremendously, many other actions must be taken in order to truly assure that these children have an opportunity to escape poverty.
Read to Grow
The Read to Grow Foundation collects book donations from European schools, partnering with organizations that ship these donated books to countries in need. Partnering organizations also provide a place to read, tables, chairs and bookshelves for those who do not have them. Activism through literature provides a better future by assuring access to literature and an education that ensures the skills needed for comprehension and advancement.
Global Partnership for Education
Global Partnership for Education reports that if all students living in low-income countries gained basic reading skills, around 171 million people could escape poverty. To put this in perspective, if all of these children learn to read, it would result in a 12 percent decrease in global poverty.
Authors have the opportunity to be literary activists by using their voices and platforms to speak on empowerment and marginalization. Once the children in underprivileged countries are taught to read, authors can empower them even more by writing about ways for them to avoid being stuck in extreme poverty and by encouraging them to continue their education.
According to Kwame Dawes, literary activists should focus on who can access their works and what they can communicate to their specific audience. He says that literary activism makes poetry and other writings available to those who otherwise may not have access to such works of literature.
In an article written by Jimmy Leak on Devex.com, Leak says that “raising child literacy is critical to preventing the intergenerational cycle of poverty from starting again.”
Activism through literature provides a better future for children in poverty-ridden countries, giving them a sense of hope and empowerment in their ability to read and interpret on their own.
– Noel Mcdavid