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10 Humanitarians Who Give International Literacy Day a Little More Meaning

Thank you to everyone who gives their time, money, and services for education and literacy.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free books to children from birth to age five in participating communities within the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Republic of Ireland.

Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write Dolly started her Imagination Library in 1995 for the children within her home county. Today, her program spans four countries and mails over 1 million free books each month to children around the world.

“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.” – Dolly Parton

United Nations Literacy Education Program – Directed by Steve Maraboli

UNLE has reached and impacted over 20 million children and adults around the globe. Their mission is to make empowering tools available for people everywhere. It’s amazing to see a program that is committed to providing every human the right to education.

“Being someone who struggled with academics for the early part of my life, I was so proud and honored to be recognized amongst the other honorees and all the great UN Humanitarian teams.  I’m so grateful for everyone who supports the endeavor to impact the world in a positive way. Education is the antidote to many poisons… Literacy is the key to empowerment.  I love being on a team that is dedicated to ensuring their reach is global and unrestricted.” Steve Maraboli, comment on 2018 United Nations Award presented by Vice President Joe Biden

The Stiller Foundation – Ben Stiller

Based on the idea that all children deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential, Ben Stiller founded the Stiller Foundation in 2010. The Foundation seeks to promote the well-being of children worldwide through initiatives that support education.

To date, the Stiller Foundation has focused primarily on improving educational opportunities for children in Haiti by rebuilding schools. In the wake of the January 2010 earthquake, the Foundation has supported Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit design services firm, and their Haiti Schools Initiative, as well as the Digicel Foundation, to construct or repair eleven schools around the country. – via The Stiller Foundation Website

Kids Need to Read – Cofounded by Nathan Fillion

The Castle actor is the co-founder of  Kids Need to Read, a non-profit organization that provides books to children who do not have the necessary funds to purchase reading and writing material for themselves. The organization also provides books to underfunded libraries.

LIDÈ Haiti – Rainn Wilson

LIDÈ provides academic support and arts programs that empower girls who have been denied equal access to education and strengthen their resiliency. LIDÈ trains and employs Haitian teachers and youth program facilitators, and collaborates with grassroots organizations and schools so that programs derive from local needs, strengthen local capacity, and foster the community support girls need to begin their educational journeys. The LIDÈ Foundation believes that arts in education inspires personal empowerment, resilience and self-efficacy.

Made By Dyslexia – Richard Branson

The charity was launched to help diagnose dyslexics and change the perception of dyslexia. In the Times, he cited a YouGov survey that shows that only 3% of people see dyslexia as a positive trait. Richard’s mission is to put a positive face on dyslexia and give support to those who have it.

Helen Mirren

Mirren has long been an advocate for literacy, supporting the United Kingdom’s National Literacy Trust as well as Book Aid International, which provides books to underserved communities around the world. In 2016 she was named the Ambassador for The World Literacy Foundation.

Shakira

The multi-talented Columbian popstar Shakira, dearly believes in the cause of literacy and education. In the year 1997, the singer established the Pies Descalzos Foundation, a Columbian school which works towards educating and nurturing local children. A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Shakira has also served as the chairperson for Action Week 2008, an event sponsored by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE).

Priyanka Chopra

Known for being passionate about women-centric causes, Priyanka was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights in August 2010. The actress is particularly involved in the cause of women emancipation and education which explains her support for United Nation’s Girl Up campaign.

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie believes in the cause of children’s education. She has chaired the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting since the time of its initiation in 2007. The Maleficent actress has also co-chaired the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict which aims at funding education for the children in conflict areas.

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