International Literacy Day

This week we are celebrating global literacy!

UNESCO declared the 8th of September to be ‘International Literacy Day’ in 1966 and it has been celebrated every year since.

The International Literacy Day (ILD) theme for 2021 is ‘Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide’. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on education around the world, with the worst affected being those living in poverty and in underprivileged areas. Although there was a quick shift to online learning, literacy education received little to no attention and many education programmes dedicated to literacy had to halt completely in the worst of the pandemic. Despite this, the recent health crisis has highlighted the need for both youth and adult literacy, with the publishing of critical information by the government and other health-related organisations. This year, ILD takes a fresh look at literacy learning and teaching efforts with an emphasis on digital skills and inclusive technology-based literacy education.

This ILD, the Thula Baba Project would like to celebrate our partner, Book Dash. Thanks to Book Dash, we are able to include a children’s book in every Thula Bucket and pack we send out. We also match the language of the book to the home language of the beneficiary wherever possible, as Book Dash publishes many of their stories in all 11 official languages.

Book Dash believes that every child should own 100 books by the age of five. To help achieve this, they reimagined the publishing process to create children’s books quickly and without the high costs traditional publishing usually incurs. Book Dash hosts events where volunteers from around the world come together to create books from scratch. The event involves many teams of volunteers, and each team works together to produce an entire children’s book in just 12 hours. All the books that are produced at these events are published on their website under a Creative Commons licence and are available to be read, downloaded, printed or translated by anyone around the world for free.

This year, Book Dash was chosen from 150 applicants as the winner of the 2021 Nedbank Private Wealth Innovation Award. This award acknowledges the impact Book Dash has made, and continues to make, on literacy education in South Africa through their innovative publishing process.

We at the Thula Baba Project are proud to be selected as a Book Dash distribution partner and are excited to introduce a new generation to the wonders of reading!