San Francisco, September 7, 2011 — On Thursday, September 8, Books for Asia, a program of The Asia Foundation, will host concurrent events in 14 countries to mark International Literacy Day 2011.
The International Literacy Day programs are organized to draw the attention of local communities and international audiences to the literacy needs of the region and the types of activities that Books for Asia engages in year-round. Events include but are not limited to:
- Pakistan: Book donation events and writing competitions in the Swat Valley, southern Punjab, and Karachi
- Mongolia: Donation of 2,500 books to 49 orphanages across the country
- Sri Lanka: Reading activities in orphanages in Gampaha, Colombo, Kegalle, and Trincomalee and Launch of the Gift of a Lifetime (GOAL) project, which aims to inspire book donations to local libraries
- Bangladesh: Donation of 2,500 books to 25 colleges and schools across the country, including those that serve children of laborers and garment workers
- Timor-Leste: Full-day celebration at the presidential palace, with 18 schools participating in drawing and reading competitions, and student performances
- San Francisco: Volunteer event at Books for Asia headquarters at which participants will help process donations from Pearson, LexisNexis, McGraw-Hill, Island Press, W.W. Norton, and other publisher donors
Books for Asia’s International Literacy Day activities around Asia and in San Francisco will be showcased in a Facebook photo album. In addition, The Asia Foundation will release a photo slideshow with behind the scene images that chronicle a recent local language storybook donation to two girls’ schools in Afghanistan.
International Literacy Day is a UNESCO imitative that seeks to remind people everywhere of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Worldwide, 793 million adults lack minimum literacy skills which means that about one in six adults is still not literate; 67.4 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. This year’s theme is “Literacy and Peace” which reflects the reality that an educated population is better equipped to overcome poverty, injustice, and instability.
More than 500 million people in Asia cannot read or write, which is equivalent to 66% of the world’s illiterate population. South Asia alone has 35 million children who are not in school, over half of whom are girls. Books for Asia believes in the power of education to transform lives and inspire positive, long-lasting change. With its donation of nearly a million books a year, the program combats educational disadvantages faced by the poor, minorities, and women of the Asia-Pacific region.