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WRITING EACH STEP – Give to Colombia

foto MarianaWhat a great experience it was attending the inaugural NEXUS Latin American and Caribbean Forum and seeing so many people making positive impact in various countries around the region. It was inspiring to get to know so many change makers that work on making the world a better place.

At the Forum I told the story of my project: WRITING EACH STEP. We aim to declare Colombia Illiteracy free by 2018 and become the most educated country in Latin America by 2025. NEXUS members recognized that this would not only benefit Colombia but also Latin America as a whole. We agreed that the ultimate goal is to join our countries together though this project to better educate the entire region.

Illiteracy has been one of the core structural problems of Colombia. Illiteracy leads to social exclusion where high illiteracy rates create an underprivileged class. The problem is not limited to those who do not know how to read and write. It goes far beyond that. The lack of these skills prevents active citizenship within the community. For instance, it limits activities such as voting, traveling and becoming informed about the world around you. It can handcuff a community and create a condition where there is a serious lack of opportunity.

In 2015, 5.8% of the Colombian population, around 2.7 million people 15 years of age and older, did not have the basic knowledge of reading or writing. The majority of these people live in hard-to-reach rural areas such as La Guajira, Guainía, Vichada and the Amazon where they are victims of armed conflict. Just recently Colombia signed a peace agreement that will generate new opportunities to offer education to refugees as well as de-militarized and reintegrated militants.

Last June, Give to Colombia, the host organization of WRITING EACH STEP, signed a partnership with the Organization of Ibero-American States and the Ministry of Education in Colombia to help reduce illiteracy in both the youth and adults over the next two years.

I hope that by sharing my testimonial and the work of WRITING EACH STEP with the NEXUS community I can help inspire others to develop similar ventures in their countries of origin.

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A NEXUS member testimonial by Mariana Castro

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