Pens And Presentations: My Journey In Literacy Advocacy

16.10.2019 | BY HILARY JONES

Each and every day, our world is moving. Cars moving, people moving and society moving. But here is where we have a crucial decision to make. Are we going to move forward into the future or seek shelter in moving backwards into the ways of the past we know? As a HundrED Youth Ambassador, I am all too aware of how, in my view, education is the single most transformational and multi-faceted force for all of our futures. With this in mind, I have been working boldly to ensure that my understanding of education, in all senses of the word, is one that takes into account the varying landscape of our society today. 

As part of this personal quest, I have made a concerted effort to nourish my HundrED project understanding through continued involvement in other similarly global education-orientated organizations such as the World Literacy Foundation. Acting as a World Literacy Foundation Youth Ambassador, I have been very fortunate to become immersed in a movement dedicated to the fight against illiteracy. This has led me to work on various fundraising events and advocacy awareness, most recently by representing the charity at the 5th Annual General Meeting of EURead in Brussels. In my view, the 5th Annual General Meeting of EURead in Brussels was an incredible event to create change, bringing together experts from the fields of business, science and politics all with one binding vision: to give fuel to the life-giving fire that is literacy. Attending the conference, I was struck by the awe-inspiring determination to work together to make this vision a reality. 

Upon arrival, there was an instant sense of solidarity as my mind was filled with endless lists of names and projects all waiting to be discovered. After an engaging welcome and enthusiastic introductions from all attendees, literacy quickly became the topic of focus as it was carefully emphasized that the EU sees literacy as a top priority, with Rodrigo Ballester, Member of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth & Sports, European Commission taking care to discuss the work that the EU is putting in to invest fresh resources and capital into improving European literacy and the supporting educational backdrop. Yet, it must also be clearly understood that literacy remains a challenge for Europe and the world, with 1 in 5 fifteen-year olds possessing poor literacy abilities in the EU. This outrageous yet sadly seemingly predictable statement was an important propeller in the delivery of several presentations and discussions with companies all surrounding how we can get Europe reading again. One such example was that of the product LUKA® The Reading Companion for Children. LUKA is a reading robot technological device aiming to improve children’s literacy abilities at the child’s side every step of the way, by reading aloud any book put in front of him, page by page, in any order. In my view, products and ideas such as these discussed at EURead possess ingredients that are fundamental to the education projects by HundrED. As HundrED works to cement innovation into education, we must remember one thing at all costs: community.

If we are to achieve innovative progression within literacy and the wider field of education, the onus lies on us all to ensure that we not only hear but actively listen to each of the unique perspectives, inviting all to the table. To truly change the world, we have to stand side by side.

Reflecting upon the events at EURead, I have a new understanding of my challenging yet equally wonderful responsibility of working with communities across our ever-globalized world, facing challenges with a desire and motivation to create solutions from all angles. EUREAD is an organization that I truly believe has lessons for us all at HundrED, tirelessly fighting for the most transformative right of literacy within everyone’s lives, looking fearlessly into the future. 

Opportunity awaits! 

Hilary Jones, is a HundrED Youth Ambassador and a passionate change-maker who is determined to create a better education for all. Hilary also serves as a Youth Ambassador for World Literacy Foundation, a global not-for-profit that works to lift young people out of poverty through literacy.

EURead is a consortium of European reading promotion organisations who believe that reading is a prerequisite for full participation in today’s media-led and culturally diverse society.

Explore more literacy based programs and initiatives on the HundrED Open.