Reading – Fight Against Poverty?

My previous reblog got me thinking about the power of reading and the significance it has in our lives.

Since childhood, I have been fascinated by the art of reading and its ability to transport me to existent and nonexistent places. Reading was seen as a way to exercise my imagination and appease my large appetite to wonder about new worlds and ideas. Reading is my first true love.

Me and my lover

Although my romantic, childish love for reading has by no means depleted through the years, my practical mind does however, understand the importance and wider impacts of the ability to read now more than ever.

Reading frees the mind from the chains of ignorance and develops a reader’s ability to not only understand new ideas, but analyse them critically too.

So why is this important? What can this achieve?

Imagine you are stuck in a shanty town, say Dharavi in Mumbai, and you are living in a hut like this:

Dharavi Slum, Mumbai

It’s overcrowded, dirty and the sewage system is open so that diseases spread easily.

In this situation many families are stuck in a cycle where they must find any job they can so they are able to survive and see another day. There is no time to go to school because you are needed to work and earn a couple of Rupees so that your family can have at least one meal a day. When you are stuck in a cycle like this, you are more than likely to remain in the cycle, because your mind is focused on short-term survival as opposed to seeking long-term sustainable solutions.

At this point, if you had basic language skills, you could read the news, learn about the developments of the world outside the slum and realise that there are solutions; realise that life CAN get better.

Just knowing that can transform the way you think and act.

You create your own ideas by borrowing other ideas and slowly, bit by bit, you give youself a chance to escape poverty.

I am by no means claiming reading is the one and only solution to ending poverty, but the ability to read is certainly a small and quite easily accessible step towards transforming lives.

Charities such as READ International are doing a fantastic job at spreading books, knowledge and ideas around the world. May it continue until every person on this planet has the ability to read.

~Arise knowledge-proletariats, break the chains of your minds and free yourself from ignorance~

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