The goal of the Social Justice Challenge (SJC) is to read about issues affecting society worldwide so that this newfound knowledge might inspire small acts of kindness—or even better, to ignite large-scale change.
All 12 SJC topics are interconnected, but this month’s topic—Illiteracy and Education—seems to be the common denominator of them all. Low levels of reading and education will drastically increase poverty, which then decreases economic stability, and then increases hunger and violence, and then decreases health and safety . . . you get the idea.
Improving reading and education is key, and doing so is actually rather simple. Small amounts of investment in literacy training and schooling produce drastic—and lifelong—results.
Here are three organizations working in literacy and education that have captured my heart and interest:
SIM combines training in agricultural methods with literacy help to improve the lives of people in many countries. Check out how they do this with the following example of their work with the Gumuz people in Ethiopia.
The Central Asia Institute, founded by Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea author), supports education, especially for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It supports the development of schools, sponsors teachers and teacher training, and provides educational materials.
William Kamkwamba’s family was too poor to pay for formal education when he was a youth, so he taught himself. No one knew that William was a natural scientist—until he built a windmill out of scrap parts and brought electricity to his family home in Malawi. You can read of his story in his book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope—and read my post about it here. Also check out how Moving Windmills is promoting education and economic development for the people of Malawi.
There are countless organizations like these. I hope you are inspired to get involved and make a difference in some way.
Join the SJC! Let’s read, act, and change together in 2010. Visit SJC HQ for details.