Illiteracy Is a Major Problem in the United States
42 million adults in the U.S. are illiterate.
Population in the Miami-Dade region lacking basic English literacy skills.
42 million or 17% of US adults lack basic functional literacy.
In the Miami-Dade region, over 900,000 people were classified as lacking basic English literacy skills. (Source: NCES, 2003).
In 2012, Alfalit embarked on a US-based adult Spanish literacy project in Homestead, FL in partnership with Costa Farms. This pilot project was successful, 196 individuals graduated from the program. It was 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 now better educated and better trained, a win for Alfalit in fulfilling its mission.
We are developing literacy programs in Spanish and Haitian Creole to cater to our most underserved neighbors in Miami-Dade County. We are actively fundraising for these programs in order to serve 1,000 individuals across multiple locations in Florida, the Carolinas, NY and California over the next two years. Early supporters of our US programs include Wells Fargo and Stok Folk & Kon Attorneys at Law.
37 % of women are illiterate.
14% of men are illiterate.
- While Bolivia’s overall illiteracy issue has drastically reduced in the last 10 years, the problem persists in the rural areas and among women.
- 37% of women in rural Bolivia are illiterate; 14% of the men are illiterate among people aged over 15 years. Source
- 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 of their gender and indigenous origin.
- While women’s participation in the economy has reached high levels, women have a low capacity to generate income..
Alfalit Bolivia was founded in 1965. In 2016, we surpassed our enrollment goals. In 2016, with an annual budget of $250,000 we taught over 5,900 students who have graduated or are continuing in our literacy and basic education, preschool and job skills courses. Our goal is maintain this USAID and UNESCO-recognized program.
Alfalit continues to work to expand its literacy, basic education, and training programs to complement as needed with modules such as a sewing and crafts training and entrepreneurship, savings club and other resources to help women create an income stream to support their families.
“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.”
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
50 % of women are illiterate.
In remote parts of the country, the illiteracy rate can be as high as 70%.
- In the DRC, 50% of women are illiterate. Nationally, 36% 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.
In 2014, Alfalit DRC was registered as a local NGO in 2014 and commenced teacher training classes in Lubumbashi, Katanga. The program currently serves students aged 14 and above. In the first three years of the program, more than 3,000 individuals enrolled in our literacy classes. Our programs are especially beneficial to rural women, who comprise about 90% of our students in DRC. In May 2017, Teresa, our program director visited the centers in Kinshasa, Lubumbabshi and Kolwezi. Alfalit is working with the local government and mining companies to secure further support and expand the program.
Alfalit is working to raise funds and increase support to:
- Establish 36 learning centers.
- Provide literacy classes to 2,500 learners — Over 90% 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 a micro-credit and job skills project in partnership with local NGOs to create a sustainable solution for impoverished women.
900,000 remains illiterate in the Dominican Republic.
The program has served more than 100,000.
- bout 900,000 individuals remain illiterate in the Dominican Republic despite the great strides the country has made achieving literacy rate of 91.8% (Source: CIA World Factbook, 2015 est).
- Access to education and classes is limited in rural communities.
- After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the strain on the public resources increased due to the inflow of Haitian refugees and migrants.
While our Dominican Republic program is among the oldest, Alfalit DR has been in continuous operation since 1999. The program has served more than 200,000 individuals. In 2016, we catered to over 4,200 individuals at our centers in Barahona,La Altagracia,La Romana, and Santo Domingo. Over 2,850 students graduated during the year from our literacy, preschool and job skills programs while over 1,370 students remain enrolled.
While Alfalit plans to serve about 2,400 individuals in 2017, the need remains enormous. We consistently have higher than expected enrollments and can keep up with the demand only with additional resources. Any support for the program over the 2017 annual budgeted sum of $283,000 would have a significant positive impact on the communities we serve. With social expenditure among the lowest in the region, prospects for local funding of our programs are weak.
45% of men are illiterate.
49% of women are illiterate.
In Haiti, 36% of men and 43% of women are illiterate (Source: CIA World Factbook,2015 est). These statistics are sharply 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.
Despite the operational challenges in Haiti which is still recovering from the earthquake, Alfalit enrolled over 9,000 students in 2016. Learn more about our ongoing initiatives to help Haitian communities in both Haiti and the United States. READ MORE
In May 2017, Joseph Milton, President of Alfalit International and Catherine Penrod, Executive Director traveled to Haiti to assess the program. The target for 2017 is to serve 8,000 individuals through 200 teachers and facilitators. We plan to continue our partnership with Société Biblique Haïtienne to run our programs in the country.
52% of Liberia’s citizens are illiterate.
67% of Liberia's female population are illiterate.
IMPACT OF THE EBOLA OUTBREAK
In 2014, Alfalit’s Liberia program was flourishing and well on its way to reaching 50,000 students since its inception in 2006. When Ebola broke out and the President closed all schools, Alfalit Liberia staff rose to the occasion as 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. Relief agencies were passing out leaflets such as instructions for basic hygiene and erecting billboards to inform the public. Lack of basic literacy was a compounding challenge in time of emergency.
The death toll of the Ebola outbreak was 4,810 in Liberia (Source: CDC). Thousands of children have become orphans. Schools closed and lessons were interrupted. The country was prepared to look for a long-term measure to prevent another disaster of similar magnitude.
President Sirleaf announced that just as Liberia was beginning to stride forward through programs such as Education for All, Ebola set her country back in a severe way. Illiteracy and lack of education is an even bigger issue today.
ALFALIT IMPACT DURING THE OUTBREAK
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 about the illnesses and deaths around them. Alfalit assisted the community training in how to segregate the infected from the healthy, care for the sick and prevent further spreading of the virus.
Joseph Milton, President of Alfalit International, has been traveling to Liberia since 2007 to personally assist Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Minister of Education eradicate illiteracy in the country.
Alfalit runs basic education & literacy and job skills programs in Liberia. In 2016, we had over 500 teachers and facilitators educate more than 7,800 enrolled students. We also run a scholarship program that, since 2016, has assisted nearly 12,000 students who cannot afford school tuition, from kindergarten to college levels.
“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