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Craft an essay about the TGPLAN experience for an article in a magazine or an

educational blog. How did you think globally, problem-solve locally, and act
neighborly? The essay should be PERSUASIVE in the sense that the reader
should now understand and care about the global issue and its local
implications. The second half of the piece should shift into a REFLECTIVE
mode, as you reflect clearly and realistically on your actions/advocacy for
improvement and describe obstacles, issues, shortfalls, or ideas for future
Be sure to include a works cited page with this Idea Book entry.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Adult and Youth Literacy: Global Trends in Gender Parity.
UIS Fact Sheet, September 2010, No.

The seeds of this project were planted in Costa Rica, where we

wondered why this Central America country has such a high standard
of living compared to its neighboring countries. During our stay, we
came to realize that Costa Rica has one of the most highly regarded
education systems in Latin America, and as a result has a very high
adult literacy rate96 percentwhich enables its citizens to live
better. When we were asked to create a humanitarian project we knew
we wanted to create one that addressed the lack of resources in some
communities. Inspired by the model of Costa Rica, we ultimately
decided to address literacy in low-income areas.
Globally, however, in other developing countries the scenario is
far bleaker, with "1 billion illiterate adults, and women make up twothirds of all non-literates. 98 percent of all non-literates live in
developing countries." (Literacy)
As prosperous as Austin is, our own community has pockets of
significant poverty, in which there is a high degree of functional
illiteracy. The US Census has determined that Estimates place more
than 225,000 Central Texans at literacy levels below the basic level
necessary to qualify for more than a minimum wage job. (US Census)
To begin to understand and address this issue locally, we visited Allison
elementary, an East Austin school with 96% of kids on free and
reduced lunch. Many of the kids there did not have access to reading
materials at home due to their financial state. To address this issue, we
donated over 100 books to their school library.
Coming to Alison elementary we had assumed that the students
there wouldnt want to read with us, but in fact the contrary was true.
The students there were excited to be read to and to be given the
books. The experience made clear to us that kids are anxious for
experiences to interact with books, but sometimes simply lack the
resources to access new books. Approximately 95 percent of all
children can be taught to read. Its not a matter of intellectual

capability, its a matter of exposure and access. We didnt have an

opportunity to measure the outcomes of our intervention, but it
appears to use that providing books and reading to kids maybe be
sufficient to improve their literacy and education outcomes, and
thereby improving their quality of life.
To reflect upon my time doing TGPLAN I created a website. Within
my website I shared local, and global perspectives on literacy. I also
shared different ways the viewer can help and where to donate. Along
with my teammates we shared our findings to our classmates and
Illiteracy doesnt just affect underdeveloped countries: it is all
around us. In the United States alone there are 32 million people who
cannot read." (InterNations) Fighting illiteracy helps individuals and
communities, and helps us prosper as a world. Reading is a
fundamental skill that is key to a life of freedom and prosperity.