World Literacy Foundation: Changing Children’s Lives Through Literacy

A Young Canadian is appointed as one of the inspirational 2023 Youth Ambassadors for the World Literacy Foundation.

The World Literacy Foundation ( WLF) is a global nonprofit organization that strives to offer every child, regardless of geographic location, the opportunity to acquire literacy skills and books to reach their full potential — succeeding at school and beyond.

An integral aspect of the WLF’s mission to end illiteracy by 2040 is its Ambassador Program, designed to train and encourage young people to become literacy advocates to interact, share and strengthen togetherness with other like- minded people determined to eradicate illiteracy worldwide.

A young Canadian named Olga developed her passion for literacy and advocacy by raising awareness and education in her community. Olga is one of 403 young people from 73 countries who were selected from 3,500 nominations for the Ambassador position to advocate for the lifelong importance of reading and writing.

“These inspiring young leaders, like Olga, have come together as a collective group of young people to help eradicate illiteracy in their community and beyond.”

Andrew Kay, founder and CEO of the World Literacy Foundation, says, “I am very excited to share the appointment of Olga as one of the 2023 Youth Ambassadors for literacy and share with her these aspirational goals to make a positive impact and see more children discover the joy of reading.”

Ambassadors serve as voices in the community. They proudly speak at their schools, universities, and to media or community groups to raise awareness and money for education and to advocate for literacy. In the process, they develop lifelong leadership and advocacy skills.

Since 770 million people on the globe are illiterate and 2 billion people struggle to read a sentence according to the World Literacy Foundation, Youth Ambassadors learn how to inspire others to get involved in their cause to make a greater impact.

Due to the pandemic, children in impoverished and under-served communities have fallen even further behind. The evidence is clear. The ability to read is a passport to a promising future of better employment or continuing education.

“These inspiring young leaders like Olga have come together as a collective group of young people to help eradicate illiteracy in their communities and beyond,” says Kay. “The World Literacy Foundation Youth Ambassadors play a key role in the organization and promotion of literacy, particularly on key days like International Literacy Day. The young people have chosen this year’s theme, ‘Change-makers,’ to call to empower and inspire all young people to address high rates of illiteracy in their communities.”

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Kay recalled his early school years in Australia, when he himself struggled to read. It was only through the efforts of his devoted literacy tutor that his reading abilities dramatically improved and his interest in books grew. Today he reads one book a week and credits his success at university and as the founder of a literacy organization primarily to his love and habit of reading.

He said the Ambassador Youth Program “is a perfect opportunity for inspiring young people to take action, develop new skills, be a voice in their community and connect with young people who are eager to make a social impact.”

According to the World Literacy Foundation, the social impact and economic cost of illiteracy is estimated at USD $1.2 trillion each year and is directly linked to poverty, lower life expectancy and poor health outcomes. The power of words has proven itself once again.

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Marc Castaldo

Marc Castaldo