Let us consider the one word that defines poverty and human misery around the world: illiteracy! It creates destitution, loss of human dignity, starvation and chaos throughout any civilization. Examples: Haiti, Somalia, Mexico, Detroit-Michigan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Congo, Afghanistan and dozens of other countries.
Because of illiteracy, today, in excess of 1.5 billion human beings cannot procure a clean glass of drinking water when they wake up each morning. In the neighborhood of 2.0 to 3.0 billion human beings will not enjoy a toilet or shower today. This year, 18 million human beings will starve to death.
Why? Answer: illiteracy!
Each day in India, 1,000 children under the age of 12, die of diarrhea, dysentery and other water borne diseases. No toilets, no clean water, no sanitation! Again: illiteracy! (Source: www.populationmedia.org)
In the United States today, according to CBS anchor Katie Couric, 13.4 million American children live below the poverty line. Millions of these children suffer malnutrition and hunger as a daily reality. Why? Illiteracy of their parents! Even our social services, welfare, food stamps and free lunch programs cannot keep up with the sheer magnitude of America's new poor class. Another 43 million Americans subsist on food stamps because they lack the educational skills to secure a job. (Source: Reuters News Services)
Disturbing fact: 42 million Americans suffer functional illiteracy according to the National Right to Read Foundation. They cannot read, write or perform simple math. Another 50 million Americans cannot read past the 4th grade level.
42 million American adults can't read at all; 50 million are unable to read at a higher level that is expected of a fourth or fifth grader.
The number of adults that are classified as functionally illiterate increases by about 2.25 million each year.
20 percent of high school seniors can be classified as being functionally illiterate at the time they graduate.