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Image via World Literacy Foundation

If you find yourself perusing the Conscious Magazine website, or any modern day media publication at that, it is more than likely you grew up with a surplus of reading material at your fingertips. I myself had access to the local Public Library just across the street, which was a fixture throughout my adolescence. I had many favorite books and a wild imagination. Needless to say, to discover that there are places in the world without a real privilege of reading at any given time is maddening.

According to InternationalLiteracy.org, approximately 775 million people – 64% of who are women – are functionally illiterate. In other words, they lack the basic reading and writing skills to manage daily living and employment tasks.

Let’s discuss: Why is International Literacy Day important?

01 | ILLITERACY DIRECTLY IMPACTS THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
“The cost of illiteracy to the global economy is estimated at $1.19 trillion. The effects of illiteracy are very similar in both developing and developed nations. This means that the impact of illiteracy – limited opportunities for employment or income generation, higher chances of poor health, propensity towards crime or dependence on social welfare or charity (if available) – can be found wherever illiteracy is found.” –Internationalliteracy.org

02 | IT’S A GATEWAY TO CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION
Reading is a type of exercise for the mind, and just like we need physical fitness, we need mental fitness as well. According to Andrew Hammond of Reading Agency’s Reading Activists program, “Imagining. It's what we do; it's what defines us, distinguishes us. And if we don't use our imagination we almost always go mad.” He also adds that writing is an outlet and an escape for people, “I can write to escape, ponder, create, startle, amuse, disturb and entertain. But most of all, I write to give vent to my imagination.

03 | READING IS EMPOWERING
“Literacy is power. Literacy gives individuals the power to make basic choices in their lives and to lead their lives as they want to. That possibly sounds simplistic but a little choice goes a long way.”
-href="http://passiontounderstand.blogspot.com/2009/09/power-of-literacy.html" target="_blank">UNESCOLiteracy builds self-confidence, it uplifts one’s spirit and it offers hope.

Tell us why literacy is important to you and the world in the comments below!

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Let’s celebrate: International Literacy Day on September 8, 2015 by joining communities around the globe to act as a united voice in raising awareness for who cannot read or write.

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