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Illiteracy Is a Major Problem in the United States

%

32 million adults in the U.S. are illiterate.

%

1,760,714 people in the Miami-Dade region lack basic literacy skills.

PROBLEM: 32 million adults in the United States are illiterate. This equals to 14% of the population.

In the Miami-Dade region, the population of 1,760,714 people (52%) are classified as lacking basic literacy skills.

SOLUTION: Alfalit Literacy Program

SUCCESS: In 2013, Alfalit embarked on a US-based adult literacy project in Homestead, FL in partnership with Costa Farms. The project proved to be necessary and successful and this year, the program will have 216 graduates. It’s a win-win-win. A win for a 56-year-old student who read and wrote for the first time in his life. A win for Costa Farms whose employees are better educated and better trained. A win for Alfalit in fulfilling its mission to spread the light of literacy.

 

EXPANSION NEEDS: Miami-Dade County

Alfalit is working to raise $100,000 to serve 400 illiterate youth and adults in Little Havana in the next two years. We expect this goal to increase because we are anticipating the demand for this successful program through word-of-mouth which is consistent with our experience in every place we open a program.

BOLIVIA

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37 % of women are illiterate.

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14% of men are illiterate.

The education of women is very important. The scholarity reached by mothers has a direct influence on the conditions of health, nutrition and survival of their children.

UNICEF

PROBLEM

  • While Bolivia’s overall illiteracy issue has drastically reduced in the last 10 years, the problem still exists in the rural areas and among women.
  • 37% of women in rural Bolivia are illiterate; 14% of the men are illiterate (survey of population group from ages 15 to 98).
  • Women in Bolivia do not live in conditions of equity with regard to men. Illiteracy amongst women is greater, they have a low income generating capacity and the maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world.
  • In urban areas, women have incorporated themselves into the least productive and the worst paid jobs. This is due to discrimination and to the fact that their levels of education are lower than those of men. The situation of women in rural areas is even worse. Here they are doubly discriminated against: because they are women, and because they are of indigenous origin.
  • While women’s participation in the economy has reached high levels, women have a low capacity to generate income..

 

SOLUTION

Alfalit Bolivia was founded in 1983. Nearly 400,000 students have gone through the program.

6,160  served by 2015 PROGRAM
Literacy: 2,672
Basic Education: 2,030
Preschool: 1,368
Job Skills: 90

EXPANSION NEEDS

Alfalit is working to expand its literacy, basic education, and training programs to include a Savings Club and a Sewing and Crafts training and commerce program to help women create an income stream to support their families.

 

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

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44 % of women are illiterate.

%

In remote parts of the country, the illiteracy rate can be as high as 70%.

PROBLEM

  • In the DRC, 44% of women are illiterate. Nationally, 35% of the population is illiterate.
  • In remote parts of the country, the illiteracy rate can be as high as 70%.
  • The education system in the DRC is currently grossly inadequate and incapable of reaching a critical mass.

SOLUTION

  • In 2013, Alfalit DRC was registered as a local NGO. Alfalit began training and commenced classes in Lubumbashi, Katanga.
  • The program serves students ages 14 and above.

SUCCESS

  • In February 2015, 225 students graduated from the Alfalit literacy program. Bill Murff, Executive Director, visited the programs in March 2015 and is working with the local government and companies to secure further support and expand the program.

 

EXPANSION NEEDS

Alfalit is working to raise funds and increase support to:

  • Establish 20 learning centers.
  • Provide literacy classes to 1,200 learners —Approximately 80% of the learners will be women and teenage girls. We project that (80-85%) of students will complete the program in nine months.
  • Distribute 5,250 literacy books to students and teachers/facilitators.
  • Train 25 new facilitators and retrain 15 current facilitators.
  • Train and hire one area coordinator and two supervisors.
  • Develop basic education materials to support literacy graduates who plan to continue their educational journey.
  • Develop an agriculture-based project in partnership with local NGOs to create a food security solution for impoverished women.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

900,000 remains illiterate in the Dominican Republic.

The program has served more than 100,000.

PROBLEM

  • 900,000 remains illiterate in the Dominican Republic despite the great strides the country has made in trying to achieve 100% literacy.
  • Access to education and classes is limited in rural communities.
  • Post-earthquake, Alfalit’s work increased because many Haitian refugees fled to the Dominican Republic.

SOLUTION

Alfalit DR was founded in 1960. The program has served more than 100,000 individuals.

 

EXPANSION NEEDS

Alfalit plans to serve 2,080 students in 2015.

  • Literacy and basic education: 1,000
  • Preschool: 1,000
  • Job Skills: 80
  • With a total budget of $250,000, ANY support for this program would make a significant impact on the program. The cost per student in the Dominican Republic is twice as much as neighboring Haiti because local and governmental entities are not supportive of NGOs. In fact, there is no local funding support for Alfalit Dominican Republic, and the program is funded almost exclusively by US-based and foreign donors and foundations.

HAITI

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45% of men are illiterate.

%

49% of women are illiterate.

PROBLEM: 

In Haiti, 45% of men and 49% of women are illiterate. These statistics fall well below the 90 percent average literacy rate for Latin American and Caribbean countries. The country faces shortages in educational supplies and qualified teachers. In the rural areas of the country, the illiteracy rates are even higher.

SOLUTION:

Despite the challenges of Haiti which is still recovering from the earthquake, Alfalit enrolled 3,641.

SUCCESS: 

2,480 students graduated from Alfalit programs in 2014.

 

72-year-old Haitian woman who lived in the darkness of illiteracy all her life until she became an Alfalit student. This is a picture of her writing her name on the board for the first time in her life.

72-year-old Haitian woman who lived in the darkness of illiteracy all her life until she became an Alfalit student. This is a picture of her writing her name on the board for the first time in her life.

EXPANSION NEEDS:

In March 2015, Alfalit President Joseph Milton traveled to Haiti to assess the program. After this visit, Alfalit developed a strategy to serve 4,000 students by the end of December 2015.

Alfalit will be working in partnership with the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice and others. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the leaders of this country and look forward to serving the citizens of Haiti.

Haitian Minister of Justice and Joseph Milton touring a women’s prison.

Joseph Milton touring a women’s prison in Haiti.

LIBERIA

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70% of Liberia’s rural citizens are illiterate.

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Across the country, 40% are illiterate.

Alfalit brought not only food and water to us, but hope. Alfalit restored our dignity, and made us to feel that many may hear a cry but only a few will respond.”

– Ebola virus survivor

Mr. Joseph Milton, volunteer President, has been traveling to Liberia since 2007 to personally assist President Sirleaf and the Minister of Education eradicate illiteracy in the country.

PROBLEM 

In 2014, Alfalit’s Liberia program was flourishing and reaching nearly 80,000 students since its inception in 2006. When ebola broke out and the President closed all schools, the Alfalit Liberia staff didn’t hesitate to become a team of responders to help those in need. Funds budgeted for books and teachers were spent on food, water and medical supplies for the sick.

  • Difficult and massive efforts to contain the virus and care for the sick was complicated by fact that up to 70% of Liberia’s rural citizens are illiterate. Across the country, 40% are illiterate.
  • Relief agencies were passing out leaflets and erecting billboards to inform the public but the people could not read, therefore, they could not understand. Instructions for basic hygiene procedures were distributed but to the illiterate population, they were useless.
  • 4,608 died in Liberia. Thousands of children have become orphans.
  • Schools closed and lessons were interrupted.
  • The question in everyone’s mind: How do we prevent this magnitude of a disaster in the future?
  • These smart children in Waladi Town risk being infected by deadly Ebola. Their parents escaped with them to unknown destinations. Whether they or their parents came down with the virus remains unknown.
  • Today, President Sirleaf has announced that just as she was beginning to make strides in her effort to provide Education for All, ebola set her country back in a severe way. Illiteracy and lack of education is an even bigger issue today.

SOLUTION

During the ebola outbreak, Alfalit staff risked their lives and traveled to remote parts of the country where the Red Cross and relief workers could not travel to. Alfalit also became the only source of information for numerous villagers who did not understand the illnesses and deaths around them. Alfalit taught them how to segregate the infected from the healthy, care for the sick and prevent further spreading of the virus.

 

SUCCESS:

Alfalit has educated nearly 80,000 men, women and youth in Liberia. Now that the ebola situation is under control, Alfalit has resumed classes.

EXPANSION NEEDS

  • Alfalit needs emergency funds to re-start classes in several counties, recruit its students and teachers who dispersed during the ebola outbreak and resume operations.
  • Our goal is to raise $962,000 in 2015 through 2016 to provide between 5,500 and 6,500 men, women and children with literacy, basic education, health and nutrition, job and skills programs, and business lessons.
  • Alfalit is also working to promote commerce and income-generating activities for women and set up more classrooms with sewing machines and materials to serve more than 200 women. A business skills program will also educate graduates of the basic education program to make them effective market women, an activity that is one of the main sources of income for women and their children.
  • The ebola outbreak created a large number of orphans. In response, Alfalit is planning to open a pre-school and help support the families.

“Since 2006, Alfalit International has been working with us in the fight against illiteracy… As a high priority on my personal agenda, education is the ticket out of poverty and a key to our nation’s development. Throughout its literacy program, Alfalit is helping Liberians towards a path to a brighter future.”

-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf