Charity United’s International Literacy Coalition

Literacy Coalition

Literacy is the route out of poverty. No matter what background, any child who becomes literate (able to read and write with understanding) has a chance to change his life and achieve prosperity.

A child who never attains literacy may be condemned to a life of hardship and privation for himself and his own children.

At least 20 million children are “lost to illiteracy.”

What does that mean, and how do we know?

If a child cannot read past a 6th grade level, it may mean he won’t finish high school. 24% of American children drop out of high school, leaving their future employment options limited. Many high-school drop-outs, illiterate teenagers, and illiterate young adults eventually turn to crime.

Anecdotally, 70% of all convicted felons are considered either completely or functionally illiterate: unable to fill out a job application or medical form or even to write a simple “thank you” letter.

A functionally illiterate adult cannot obtain, let alone maintain, a job that requires the ability to read, write, send an email, and use a computer.

Both illiterate and functionally illiterate adults have deficiencies in reading, writing, and speaking that impact them: economically, in their personal lives, and in their professional relationships. Unless the issue of illiteracy is addressed, this affects them throughout their entire lives.

How do we help those who never had a proper education? How do we empower children so that they are given a chance? How do we give people a route to a bright future, both for themselves and for their own succeeding generations? 

We do this by focusing on the fundamentals of literacy.

Any education in any subject rests on a foundation, and that foundation is literacy.

What is literacy?

Literacy can be defined as “the ability to read, write, speak, and communicate with understanding.

If a child cannot attain the ability to read and write with understanding, it will not matter what school he attends. This inability will hamper any further education.

With this in mind, Charity United has launched an International Literacy Coalition. The goal of this coalition is to strengthen the foundations of literacy, allowing any child (or adult) to attain the knowledge and skills needed for the attainment of prosperity.

How it Works

Charity United organizes local community literacy coalitions composed of groups and volunteers, and provides them with the educational training and materials they need.

We use the Ollie the Elephant: Learning Made Easy program. This program consists of an illustrated guide to literacy, with 164 booklets, 7 workbooks, and over 3000 illustrations. It gives an individual the ability to read with understanding.

The program is simple, but very powerful. Anyone can be trained to deliver, in very short order.

Program Results and Successes

From a Student:

“I have completed my 12th class in government school. I tried to get personal tuition, but it was too expensive, so I had to stop. However, thanks to Charity United and Unique Coaching Center, I was able to continue receiving an education. Thanks to their program, I am beginning to learn English. I am learning how to teach, I am learning how to speak to others, and I have a future.”

From a Literacy Volunteer:

“Charity United has started to make education available to the slum children. They did so by starting small classes in the open field. The main focus is to make equality a reality: that everyone has a right to education. Together Unique Coaching Center and Charity United have begun to make education available to the slum children. They are providing essential materials such as books, pens, pencils, blackboard, markers, etc.

“After education was made available directly in the slums, the children have changed. They love the classes and are interested in learning. There is a new look on their faces. You can see the children walk around and shine.

“The students are very excited about the daily classes. They always arrive before the teacher! Because of the methods used to teach, the students are eager to learn. They lose their sense of time! They will stay as long as we give a class. We could teach them all day without losing their interest.

“Now the students are very interested, and come to class every day.

“I am getting the training from Charity United. I have learned how to give a class, how to keep the students interested, how to deal with the children in a caring manner, and most of all how to get the students through their study difficulties.

“The method is completely different from what I am used to, but it is amazingly powerful. The children change in front of your eyes.

“Charity United and Unique Coaching have played a vital role in making our dreams possible.”

From a Literacy Volunteer:

“When I started this programme, I did not believe that I would be able to learn to speak English. But now I am realizing that I will be able to learn English very well. Before this, I was afraid to speak English. I wasn’t able to speak even basic simple words. I didn’t dare to speak English in front of anyone. I was embarrassed and I thought that people would just laugh at me, so I didn’t even try to speak English.

“But after just a few days on the programme, I realized that I can learn to speak English, that I will become fluent, and that I can learn to speak like a “gentleman.” Through the methods used on this programme, I have found confidence in speaking. And even though I still make mistakes, this no longer bothers me. I know that to learn English, I need to practice and not worry about mistakes.

“I have learned how to communicate with others, I am no longer afraid to speak English. I no longer hesitate. I have gained the confidence to speak. I could never even look at others before. Now I can face anyone! I’m no longer embarrassed about making mistakes, I know you can’t learn if you don’t practice.

“The conditions in our slum are completely miserable. Despite this, parents send their children to government schools, in hopes of getting them an education. For some reason, however, the children are not able to learn in those schools. Some parents try to get their children a tuition, but the fees charged are way too high for us to afford. At other times, the families are so desperate, that the children need to work instead of go to school.

“Now I have started to teach in my slum with the help of Charity United. The changes in the children in my slum have been amazing. The programme is so simple, yet powerful. Hope has been restored to the children. You can see it in their eyes. You can see their dreams that had faded have come back to life and they again believe that a future is possible.

“The parents are seeing this too. Because of the programme, they too have started believing in education. As the word is getting round, the parents are now sending their children to our class. Every day we have 5 to 10 new students.”

From a Literacy Volunteer:

We now have the resources to study. The children are studying well, and are having fun doing so. We now have hope that we can do something with our lives. We know we can grow up to be good people and be something that families can be proud of!

“What have the children learned so far?

“They have learned so many basic things! We are understanding things better, we are speaking better, and we have gained confidence in studying. I have learned how to educate the other children in the village, I have learned the meanings of many words, and I can now understand what I read. I have more confidence in life, and get along with the village elders better.

“The mentality and outlook of the children has completely changed! They have become interested in learning to read and write, and they have hope for the future. The change has been so great, that even the parents have hope for the first time. They have changed their minds about the importance of education. The parents are now supporting education as they have seen the changes in the children since we started this program.

“What do the children think now? After starting the classes, the parents have realized that the children are really learning. Both the parents and the children have hope that they can learn to read well.”

Literacy is the Great Equalizer

Improving functional literacy improves the community and builds equality.

Functional literacy is a human right, and when a child, teenager, or young adult is not able to obtain it, a great injustice ensues.

Millions of children are falling victim to an unjust and unequal education system that allows only a privileged few to receive quality education.

  • 45 million Americans are currently functionally illiterate and cannot read above a fifth-grade level.
  • 50% of adults cannot read a book written at an eighth-grade level.
  • 57% of students failed the California Standards Test in English.
  • Only 1/3 of fourth-graders reach the proficient reading level.
  • Only 25% of students in California school systems are able to perform basic reading skills.
  • 85% of juvenile offenders have difficulties reading.
  • 3 out of 5 people in American prisons cannot read.
  • 3 out of 4 people on welfare cannot read.

Charity United’s literacy program is simple, but very powerful. Anyone can be trained to deliver, in very short order.

You can help us provide children with their human rights to literacy.