International Literacy Day Reminds Us of Our
Dream to Have a Literate and Educated Community
A lot of our students live with a grandparent or parent who cannot read. When the Siddhartha School’s first classroom opened its doors over 20 years ago, literacy rates in Ladakh were known to be bleak. The most recent local census (taken in 2011), still shows that 1 out of every 5 women in Leh, Ladakh, cannot read. So our mandate continues to be literacy for all, especially the girls.
World Economic Impact
World Literacy Foundation reported that illiteracy and low levels of literacy have been estimated to cost the global economy approximately $926 billion annually in costs associated with unemployment and social programs, as well as reduced government tax revenue and productivity.
Illiteracy often promotes welfare dependency, low self-esteem, and higher levels of crime. Moreover, people with a low level of literacy have limited ability to make important, informed decisions in everyday life as they struggle with tasks such as filling out forms and applications, understanding government policies, and reading medicine or nutritional labels.
People with low levels of literacy are more likely to experience adverse health outcomes, have poor health literacy, and practice poor health behaviors. For example, people with low levels of health literacy are more likely to experience
- higher hospital admission rates,
- a lack of engagement with health services such as cancer screening, and
- a lack of understanding and adherence to medical advice.
Siddhartha School’s Impact
The Siddhartha School is changing this reality by equipping all students, girls and boys, with the ability to read and write … in four languages, no less! We know that this ability opens a world of possibilities to our students and their families.