Illiteracy is a worldwide problem, and the proof resides in some pretty unfortunate statistics:

Chart from Better World Books

In a country where everything from dogs to hamburgers get a national day, it’s comforting to see that literacy also gets marked with such an occasion – September 8th. To mark 2015’s National Literacy Day, UNESCO (United States Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) compiled a fact sheet with the latest available literacy data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). And while the number of people who are unable to read and write continues to fall, trends across regions and countries vary. Spoiler alert – it’s a giant bummer.

Cycles of poverty are broken through education, and economic, social and political freedom are all achieved through literacy. To say no one should ever be denied access to basic education is an obvious statement, yet it is one that often goes unheard and overlooked. Fortunately grassroots organizations are taking action to create change.

Photo by Better World Books

Buy a book, give a book – that’s the premise behind Better World Books. Through their book for book initiative, the organization hijacks the power of capitalism to spread literacy around the world. They are working with several nonprofit literacy partners to ensure that every time someone purchases a book from their website, one is donated to someone in need. Partners include Books for Africa, Room to Read, and The Prison Book Program.

Photo by Better World Books of students in Belize

Next time you buy a book online, consider Better World Books. The online store features a wide variety of new and used books, in just about every category imaginable. It also features a place to make a direct donation and an area for those wanting to sell their gently used books. They also work with libraries around the country to collect and recycle unwanted books, partner with carbon balancing services and use sustainable, eco-friendly business practices.

Photo by Better World Books of their Functional Adult Literacy Program

What started as a group created in 2002 by three friends from the University of Notre Dame who were eager to make a little money while doing some good, has left a huge impact on the world. Since its start date, Better World Books has donated 17,854,110 books, recycled or reused 198,694,070 books, and raised $21,636,290 for literacy and libraries.

Join the good fight and help support Better World Books’ efforts to spread literacy, one book at a time.

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Kinda Kind

Kinda Kind

It’s become my mission to show the world that not only is kindness fun and easy to do, but also that small actions can have giant impacts. That’s why I started Kinda Kind. I’m glad that your path has led you here and I’m glad we’re on the journey together to make kindness badass.