Reading is incredibly important. A good book can not only be an amazing companion, but it can also help develop our mental and empathic skills. Reading can help us become better people by learning how other people live, think, and experience life; it helps us connect through generations and countries and can bring us closer together with our ancestors and neighbors while we develop our intellectual skills. The ability to read is essentially a gift to our brain and our humanity.
However, reading was not something most people were able to do through most of human history. In fact, it was until the 19th century that literacy rates started growing, and until the 20th when the rate of literacy started growing at a steady rate when basic education gained significance internationally. Now, more people can read then ever before, and younger generations are steadily more educated than older ones. The literacy rates have improved so drastically for the past two centuries that The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) estimates that most cross-country gaps in literacy will be closed by 2050 with literacy gender gaps also closing in most of the world. This means that more and more girls have steadily gained the same level of education as boys.
These developments are an amazing achievement as not only do countries with higher education and literacy rates are more likely to have democratic regimes, but the closing literacy gender gap allows girls and women the opportunity to pursue greater things. Higher education outcomes are also predictors of better economic growth, higher social capital, and happier people. Further, a higher level of education in women also leads to lower child mortality rates as women develop greater habits, choices, and the ability to have a job that can support these.
Literacy and education are great tools for empowering everyone and making the world a better place. These are essential tools to help you develop a higher level of intelligence and empathy as an individual, which provides you with the tools to develop better and healthier surroundings and stronger communities. Literacy and education are also tools Caritas Smile uses in its programs to help empower the people of the Dominican Republic and Honduras. We do this, among other things, through our English teacher program where you can teach both kids and adults valuable language skills that will broaden their horizons and possibilities in the future. We also provide them with support and scholastic materials. Additionally, you can take Spanish lessons that will help develop your communication skills and improve your overall memory. You will be doing something amazing for yourself and for others.
Also, because you will be providing children with a safe place and outlet where they can learn and develop, you will be giving them a better start in life as supportive environments where children can engage in literacy activities are associated with higher achievement scores. Thus, you will be giving children in impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic and Honduras a better chance at life.
We are lucky because we have access to so many things that can help us be happier and have better lives. We have access to books, the internet, different languages, and all the information we might want. Why not share our luck with others? You can do so by taking a trip and changing a life.
Talia Velez is a Growth Impact Officer at Caritas Smile, a non-profit service travel program dedicated to making positive impacts and sustainable changes for women and children in developing countries. Having grown up in Mexico, Talia is keenly aware of the day-to-day issues faced by women and children in countries with more economic vulnerability. Visit our site to learn more about Caritas Smile and join us in our mission to help those in need.