Literacy is one of the keys to success in life, no matter where you are in the world. It has been proven that countries with the lowest literacy rates consistently have the poorest, unhealthiest and most conflict-ridden societies. For this reason, for decades there has been enormous funds invested in literacy programs, especially in undeveloped nations, to bring hope for a healthy future to every citizen of the world.
In the old days, which were not so long ago, literacy programs meant distributing books, or organizing trips to the library, or hosting public reading programs. Today, we are high-tech and digital. E-books is an internet platform that has taken off with tremendous success. Just about every new book is now available in e-book format, the most popular being Amazon Kindle. But, what if you live in rural Ghana, in Africa, and you don’t have a computer and there is no such thing as the community library? How then do you advance literacy and ensure a generation of citizens who can share in the economic success of their country?
You pack up a van with mobile devices and take it to the kids. Street Library Ghana and Tigo a leader in the telecommunications field have teamed up to take e-books to the streets. Last month, a shiny new van was loaded up with e-readers, tablets and laptops. It then headed out to bring the joy of reading to Ghana’s at-risk children who live in her most remote regions. For Street Library Ghana President Hayford Siaw, this was a great leap forward from the days when he was driving around with hard-cover books. Now, with the mobile devices, Siaw can combine the children’s natural love for computers with Street Library’s mission of improving literacy. Further, because Siaw now has digital platforms, the children, many of whom have never touched a computer device, will also be exposed to computer technology. Not only will they be able to read, but they will gain the skills to be successful in today’s high-tech digital world.