Registrations for the Global Youth Citizenship Program by World Literacy Foundation open today for the three-month community service opportunity, which provides training in leadership skills, community advocacy, and charitable fundraising.

This year, young people from 52 countries will strive to rescue 200,000 children who are facing lifelong illiteracy. They will provide children’s books, tutoring, and other activities.

21-year-old Arron Smith, says in his early years as a student, he struggled to read a sentence. It was only due to the caring intervention of a literacy tutor he discovered an interest in books. Arron’s life was transformed by a dramatic improvement in his reading abilities.

Today, he reads a book per week and says his success at university was primarily due to his love and habit of reading.

With one in four children from low-income backgrounds facing illiteracy, Arron has decided to be a “Change Maker” and join with other young people to improve literacy rates. Over the next 3 months, Arron will be one of the 3500 Youth Ambassadors for the World Literacy Foundation. Applications for this Global Youth Citizenship program are open from today for young people who are aspiring “change makers”.

Rosario Aran, the Project Coordinator says, “It’s a perfect opportunity for inspiring young people to take action, develop new skills, be a voice in their community and connect with young people who are eager to make a social impact.” Due to the pandemic over the past 2 years, the literacy gap has widened among children from underserved communities. The evidence is clear. The ability to read is a passport to a brighter future and is a pathway to better employment and education.

“Nearly 61% of children from disadvantaged homes don’t own a single book and face lifelong illiteracy and poverty if something isn’t done”, said Rosario Aran.

The Youth Ambassadors program is designed to create community education and awareness of the importance of reading books.

The World Literacy Foundation is a not-for-profit striving to eradicate illiteracy by 2040. It works in 52 countries and reaches 500 million people each year. 770 million people on the globe are illiterate. A further 2 billion people struggle to read a sentence.

The social impact and economic cost of illiteracy is estimated at $1.2 trillion USD each year and is directly linked to poverty and disadvantage.