Most of the world’s billion or so poorest, unhealthiest and disenfranchised people are also illiterate, Cliff Schmidt noticed a few years ago, a chronic global deficit that he believes seriously hamstrings any other humanitarian or assistance efforts under way in the developing world.
“Literacy is critical to self-empowerment,” said Schmidt, a former Microsoft program manager who has been spending time in Ghana observing the daily lives and needs of African families.
Teaching someone to read obviously isn’t as urgent as teaching a mother how to care for a newborn child or getting someone vaccinated, he acknowledged. But Schmidt said failing to help the mother become literate means she must remain subservient to government largesse and do-gooder programs.
Allowing people to remain illiterate, Schmidt says, means allowing people to remain powerless.
Cliff also plans to run a pilot project in Ghana soon for which funding is required to build the devices.
At low pilot quantities, labor costs per device are more than 10x the cost during production runs. Each pilot device costs us approximately $160. Thanks to a few generous donors providing matching funds, each $100 donation will cover one of the remaining 89 devices.
And he asks if we could:
… a Talking Book Device and do your part to support a family with no other means for reading practice and with no other efficient way to learn about crucial health issues. I can guarantee you that each of those families will do their part to improve the device for hundreds of millions of other families.
To donate, please visit http://literacybridge.org/donatenow.html
For more information, visit literacybridge.org
We are also hoping to do a pilot with Cliff, later in the year, in Bangalore.