In honor of World Read Aloud Day, and to share profound insight into the state of literacy worldwide, Susan M. Blaustein, the Director of the Millennium Cities Initiative, wrote a powerful blog for the Huffington Post.
"In an early celebration last week of World Read Aloud Day in Kisumu, Kenya's third largest city, the Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) and Kisumu public school teachers made the rounds of a number of primary schools where we now have Girls' LitClubs, thanks to the New York-based, literacy-focused non-profit LitWorld. As planned, schoolgirls all over Kisumu, including those in a school on the grounds of the local women's prison, recited prepared poems, read stories aloud and sang and danced, all to celebrate literacy.
What our team did not anticipate was the keen desire on the part of the women prisoners themselves to read aloud -- which they did, not just with their wardens' permission, but together with their wardens, page by page, story after story. As our merry troupe of teachers and development practitioners traipsed down the path to and from the prison and school bearing their colorful "World Read Aloud Day!" placards, a woman cooking and selling "chips" (fries) by the side of the road asked whether she, too, might have the chance to read. Our group, eager to get to their appointment on time inside the prison grounds, stopped on the way back so that the woman could read out loud to them."