We’re building a movement of people—from all countries, backgrounds and experiences— to help spread the word about the devastating impact illiteracy has on the world. Only by working together to raise awareness will we be able to demand greater attention and investment in delivering solutions that will close the literacy gap.
Over 750m adults in the world are unable to read and write. Illiteracy underpins some of the biggest issues in the world, from poverty and homelessness to gender inequality and unemployment.
By solving illiteracy, not only can we transform people's lives, we can transform our communities, our cities, our world.
Visit IlliteraCity to learn more.
Rewriting Lives: Wanda’s Story
In 2017, we highlighted Wanda's story. Wanda did not learn to read and write until she was an adult, encouraged by her desire to read her children stories at bedtime. On International Literacy Day, we published her first book, which has been downloaded over 3,000 times, and was read aloud by actor and activist, Idris Elba.
Give Your Word
To drive our 2017 campaign, Give Your Word, we created a moving film to highlight the challenges of adult literacy and the heroic stories of those who learned to read and write. The video was viewed over 3 million times, reaching new audiences and focusing attention to the importance of literacy.
The Lives Unseen
We created a virtual reality installation featuring three stories inspired by real people who were kind enough to share a glimpse into their responsibilities, fears, hopes and coping strategies as an illiterate person. The stories show them navigating employment, access to education, and health.
The Unsigned Petition
In September 2015 we launched the Unsigned Petition on behalf of the 750 million illiterate people worldwide who cannot sign their own name, two thirds of whom are women. Sixteen Project Literacy partners joined Pearson to launch the 30,000 strong petition and carry it to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where 193 global leaders were attending the UN General Assembly.
The Mighty Pencil Machine
On International Literacy Day 2016, we created a Mighty Pencil Machine which created pencils from messages of support sent from people around the world that were able to complete one sentence, "The power of words can..." The pencils created from these messages were sold at an event in New York City to raise money for literacy programs around the world. The event was supported by actress, Julianne Moore.
We teamed up with GOOD Magazine to report on the issue of illiteracy from a wide-range of perspectives - from a brothel in India to the streets of Los Angeles. In 2015 alone we reached more than 61 million people through these stories online.
The Alphabet of Illiteracy
Our 2015 Alphabet of Illiteracy campaign showed how literacy is linked to some of the world's biggest challenges. Our campaign video went on to win several awards including a Cannes Lions Palme d'Or and was viewed over a million times.