International Literacy Day

On September 8th we celebrate the International Literacy Day.

This international day was established by UNESCO in 1966, identifying literacy as a strong tool to empower people and communities. Also, literacy is responsible of a “multiplier effect” (UNESCO) which leads to an effective participation and inclusion in society and to an improvement of livelihood capacities.

Literacy also plays an important role in the strategies towards SDGs achievement, improving child and family health, reducing poverty and increasing life opportunities. Goal n° 4 – “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” – includes literacy in its target list: this should increase public awareness on the importance of literacy as a driver of change.

Reaching the target means having to deal with at least 750 million young people and adults who are still illiterate. In addition, 264 million children are failing to obtain basic literacy skills. In South Asia 27 million children between 5 and 13 years old don’t attend school. The majority of them live in India: almost 12 million out of a total population of 195 million (Unicef 2014).

Through the Houses of Smiles, Cesvi promotes education and schooling for poor children in 6 countries: Haiti, Peru, Brazil, Zimbabwe, South Africa and India. In India the two Houses of Smiles host almost 5o boys and girls between 6 and 15 years old. They are provided with school fees and all the requirements needed. They also have free access to all the books in the shelter library.

In order to cultivate their passion, children in the House of Smiles have the opportunity to take part in the extracurricular activities and to receive supplementary education support.

We believe that children have the right to improve their skills through adequate school support and have a better future for themselves and their families.


Cover Photo: Franco Franchini