International Literacy Day


Today, September 8, is International Literacy Day. Here’s the blurb from the UN website:

Literacy is a cause for celebration since there are now close to four billion literate people in the world. However, literacy for all – children, youth and adults – is still an unaccomplished goal and an ever moving target. A combination of ambitious goals, insufficient and parallel efforts, inadequate resources and strategies, and continued underestimation of the magnitude and complexity of the task accounts for this unmet goal. Lessons learnt over recent decades show that meeting the goal of universal literacy calls not only for more effective efforts but also for renewed political will and for doing things differently at all levels – locally, nationally and internationally.

So today, I hope everyone reads and/or writes something, however small. Or read to someone — spread the joys and benefits of literacy.

Luckily for me, I leave in 9 days for a country with the 22nd highest literacy rate in the world: Ukraine’s literacy rate is 99.4%, according to Index Mundi. That’s higher than the United States’ 99% (ranked 35th). While some Ukrainians are literate in Russian and some in Ukrainian, what really matters is how high that percentage is: it reflects how the country values education, which bodes well for me as an English-teaching Peace Corps Volunteer.

In other news, I finished Anna Reid’s Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine and learned a lot about Ukraine’s history through the mid 1990s. I feel better prepared, knowing a bit of what Ukraine has experienced in its long haul toward independence. Also, I leave in 9 days and today will start packing — it might take 5 tries to fit 2 years of my life into 2 suitcases…though some current volunteers say that we really won’t need the spring/summer clothing during training.


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