Why Literacy is Important

Can you read this? Can you count how many letters are there in the first question? Can you write down your answer? If you can, good for you! You have what it would take to live a good life, and contribute to the wealth of the nation.

Literacy: a matter of life and death Literacy is life, as it is the set of skills necessary for existence and development.

Living and earning

Marina’s illiterate parents used to live a hand-to-mouth existence, roaming the mountains and often being mistreated by lowlanders. Determined to change their fate, Marina decided to learn. With the competencies she posses, she started to earn a living that affords to give her family a decent life.

Developing potentials

Fourteen year-old Maricel just learned to write her name at the community learning center in far-flung sitio in Digos City. Now that she knows how to write her name and things about health and nutrition, she has made one step closer to becoming a nurse. Making informed decisions
Indigenous people of Mindoro lamented that when they were still illiterate, they used to be quiet and aloof people. But after being provided literacy, they were empowered to organize themselves, make critical decisions on matters that affect their lives and participate in the democratic process such as election.

Contributing to society

Illiterate mothers of a remote barangay in Cotabato used spend their day gambling, gossiping and nagging their husbands. Then an NGO that brought literacy transformed them into responsible mothers and wives, earning family members and valued part of the community.

Averting death

On the other side of possessing these range of skills and competencies that lead to quality life for individual and society, is the dark side of illiteracy.

Illiteracy is death…literally, as in the father who accidentally poisoned his child because he could not read label that said toxic; or figuratively, as in throwing a good life away as a housemaid committed a crime out of ignorance thereby spending the better years of her life in prison.

Those were just newsworthy incidents involving illiteracy. Unfortunately, illiteracy is not just a form of bad luck befalling people randomly, it is a reality for 4 million Filipinos who cannot read and write. Tsk, tragic cases of illiteracy might just be a common occurrence, and tragedies could multiply by 4 million!

Literacy is the key towards a good life…and against meaningless and tragic death. Good for those who knows this truth… and better for those who act on this knowledge and multiply the values of literacy in theirs and others’ lives.

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