When living in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, it’s hard to imagine that worldwide there are over 250 million children (four times the UK population) who can’t even read or write.
Every child deserves access to quality education that enables them to learn important lessons in life and creativity and gain the necessary skills for lifting themselves out of poverty. Literacy, a pillar of education, changes lives through self-reflection, self-expression, connection with others and communication, influencing lives for the better.
The millions of children who cannot read are cut off from learning those lessons that literature offers. Education is a direct route out of poverty, but millions are missing out due to a lack of properly trained teachers, or by being excluded from classrooms simply because of who they are.
For this reason, Shakespeare Lives, a major global programme initiated by the British Council and the GREAT Britain Campaign, celebrating Shakespeare’s works and his influence on culture, education and society on the 400th anniversary of his death, has partnered with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) to help more children have access to education worldwide.
Some of VSO’s main education programmes include:
- Nepal – VSO’s Sisters for Sisters project to encourage girls to stay in school and combat early marriage. Almost all (92%) of the 1,280 little sisters recruited into the project are still in school – with 70% saying mentoring motivates them to stay in school.
- Ghana – the Tackling Education Needs Inclusively (TENI) project saw an improvement in the basic education certificate examination performance of girls and children with disabilities in Ghana. Over the last two years, VSO has reached more than 40,000 children, including 2,000 with disabilities.
- Malawi – Unlocking Talent through Technology project is using tablet based teaching to raise literacy and numeracy levels for 30,000 children. VSO’s primary partner in this project is Onebillion – they are creating world-class software and helping VSO to scale up the project.
To help raise the necessary funds to improve the education outcomes of children across the world, Bespoke British Pens has also joined the Shakespeare Lives/VSO campaign and has created a special Shakespeare pen available for purchase to all people who want to change lives in some of the world’s poorest communities.
So those of you who want to make the world a better place for millions of children across the world and give them a chance to become independent, fulfilled individuals join our initiative today. Let’s all fight against illiteracy and make education accessible to every child! Get in touch now!