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The SIL Literacy Fund

The SIL Literacy Fund is a project to raise funds for various mother tongue literacy programs within SIL that have small, immediate, and critical needs.


In 1948, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized education as a "fundamental right of every individual." Since then, significant progress has been made in the fight against illiteracy. From 1960 to 1985, the rate of world-wide illiteracy dropped from 39% to 28%. Unfortunately, victory is not yet in sight. Literacy efforts have not kept pace with the world's rapid population growth. Today there are 405 million more illiterate adults than there were in 1960. The scourge of illiteracy most affects the world's poor—those who can least afford yet another burden in life. Developing nations have the largest proportion of illiterates. According to UNESCO's 1996 Statistical Yearbook, 86% of the population in Niger is illiterate. In India, the rate of illiteracy is over 48% and in Bangladesh, over 61%. Furthermore, the burden of illiteracy weighs most heavily on women and the rural poor. Throughout the developing world, nearly half the women cannot read, and in many cases, illiteracy rates for women exceed that of men by more than 10%.

The role of SIL in the fight against illiteracy

The role of the SIL Literacy Fund

The SIL literacy fund specializes in aiding smaller literacy projects worldwide.  Some specific countries that will have projects include, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, Ghana, The Former Soviet Union, and many more.  Projects will include resources for training of local teachers, provision of facilities, and the publication of beginning primers, health books, math books, transitional materials, advanced readers, etc. These projects are centered around the mother tongue of the learners and usually include a transitional component to the national language.

How can I donate to this fund?