The power of words

About Project Literacy

Project Literacy is a global campaign founded and convened by Pearson, the world’s learning company. The aim is to bring the power of words to the world, by building partnerships and driving action.

Illiteracy is a global crisis. It impacts over 750 million lives - one in ten people alive today. It costs the world $1.19 trillion a year. Yet most people hardly give it a second thought.

Maybe we’ve never met anyone who’s struggling to write. Then again, a lot of people who find it hard to read are very good at hiding it. So perhaps we missed the signs when we had a chance to help.

One thing’s for sure. Most people are unaware of the consequences of illiteracy. And its costs.


The number of people who can’t read this sentence. That’s more than the population of Europe, or 1 in every 10 people in the world today.


The cost of illiteracy to the world economy each year. We should never underestimate the power of literacy to kickstart economies and drive development.

The curse of illiteracy is that it is largely invisible. But its impact is global and devastating. If you see inequality and poverty, you’re seeing the impact of illiteracy.  An inability to access learning through literacy makes people more likely to experience poverty and suffer social and economic hardship. This in turn means their children are less likely to be literate, which creates a vicious cycle.  

Literacy is central to achieving nearly every one of the Sustainable Development Goals—a set of universal goals agreed by the UN and the world’s leaders that will guide policymaking over the next fifteen years. Their aims are simple: to end poverty, protect the planet, and bring about prosperity for all.

Words are the key to so many things. They are how we make sense of the world around us.  Through words, we can pursue life-changing opportunities and stand up for the rights of others to do the same.

Project Literacy exists to bring the power of words to everyone. So that by 2030, every child born can grow up to be a literate adult.

Our Advisory Group

The Project Literacy Advisory Group provides an invaluable thought leadership role for the campaign and helps us tackle one of the most urgent sustainable development challenges of our time. The Advisory Group supports the development of a sustainable movement for change, mechanisms for robust collaboration among advocates and practitioners, and strategic priorities for the campaign.

We believe progress requires a new way of problem-solving, one that brings together very different partners in the common fight against illiteracy. Therefore, Advisory Group membership reflects a range of sectors, geographies, and expertise, with diverse experiences and insights needed to steward Project Literacy toward sustainability.


Aria Finger, CEO,
Ben Goldhirsh, Co-Founder & Chairman, GOOD Worldwide
Jeff Hoffman, Entrepreneur ( , , ColorJar), Experienced CEO, Worldwide Motivational Speaker, Board Advisor, Film and Music Producer
José Francisco “Chico” Soares, Former President, INEP (Federal National Institute of Educational Research, Brazil)
Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing Officer, Pearson & Spokesperson, Project Literacy
Michael Lombardo, Literacy Expert & Former CEO, Reading Partners
Rapelong Rabana, Founder & CEO Rekindle Learning

Bios coming soon.