Guest Post By Erna Grasz, CEO/Founder, Asante Africa Foundation
In my own childhood, I was an extreme “bookworm”, particularly when my family struggled through difficult times I turned to, and found comfort in the pages of books. The magic of books often sent me on a journey to explore alternative universes, shared knowledge with me and helped me find answers to questions I was too afraid to ask adults. Words, numbers and math were a source of entertainment; worlds to enter, puzzles to be solved and predictable methods that did not require anyone to like me, but they nourished me beyond my imagination.
And now, in this digital era, access and opportunity to attain global literacy is transforming how we are approaching the road to getting there.
Besides my own experience, I have personally witnessed what literacy is doing for global youth today. I routinely meet young girls who are holding a book for the first time, excited to unravel the knowledge between those pages. I have seen young boys’ eyes light up when they make the connection between what they’ve read or studied to their own real life, often eager to return home to help their parents not get cheated on their next visit to the marketplace.
Literacy is about creating personal self-confidence, seeking and attaining knowledge, developing skills, cultivating courage and achieving dreams. Literacy gives hope and keeps the future alive. On this International Literacy Day, join me in reflecting on what it means to you and what it means on the global stage.