Week 1 Secondary Post: Inequality in Illiteracy

I’ve always felt uneasy every time I think about illiteracy.

I know I’m lucky to be able to read and write. I’m even luckier to have access to libraries and bookstores. Not everyone can pick up a book that easily. Even fewer can read any of the words printed on a page.

If I had to describe my childhood in one word, I’d use the word sheltered. That probably explains why I was shocked to learn illiteracy exists. It exists in a way I can’t comprehend. Even today I can’t even begin to envision a life where I couldn’t read a novel or write my own name. But that’s the life millions of people live every single day.

I don’t know what it’s like to be illiterate, to not have access to a good education, to face the challenges others face through no fault of their own. This reality sunk in the most when Grammarly approached me in helping to promote International Literacy Day. It fell on the 8th of September last year. I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to promote and raise awareness for such a worthwhile cause.

They simply wanted me to post this infographic:

(Image courtesy of Grammarly.)

What I couldn’t wrap my ahead around was that for just writing about literacy and posting the graphic on my blog, they’d donate ten dollars in my name to a charity of my choice. The charities, of course, were literacy-promoting ones.

I had a tough time deciding between Reading is Fundamental, First Book, and ProLiteracy. In the email, I wrote back saying, “I would love for the Reading Is Fundamental organization to receive the donation”. Even though it upset me that I couldn’t donate to all three back then, I promised myself one day I will.

At the time, I appreciated the work RIF was doing and has done. I know a ten dollar donation doesn’t seem like much. Still, I like to think they made good use of it.

I hope I stay true to what I said in 2015.

“In the future, I hope to donate more of my time and money for the cause.”

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Week 1 Main Post: Divided

Pride and optimism can overcome, to a major extent, a sense of division…

Anne Golden, The Star

Growing up I never would have described Toronto as “The Divided City“. It took years before I noticed the invisible cracks.

For eighteen years, I’ve lived in the same city, in the same house. I spent most of my childhood reading stories to escape reality. Dividing my time between fictional worlds and the real one made me appreciate every minute I spent in each one. However, I still want to explore the city and all it has to offer.

I started taking writing more seriously in my first year of high school. Perhaps this stemmed from my passion for reading. I felt empowered to tell my own stories after spending so much time following other characters around. Creating characters and building the worlds they inhabit forced me to become more observant of the world around me. It allowed me to immerse myself into the place where I live to a greater extent.

In grade ten I started a blog. Knowing my attention span, I never expected to stick with it. But I did and I’m learning something new every day. So far blogging taught me to filter the information coming in from my Reader and going out to the world via my posts. I’m excited to see where blogging will take me.

One of my most memorable classes in high school is an introductory to law course. I attribute my teacher and my peers for sparking my interest in social justice.

When I applied for university in my last year of high school, interestingly enough, I stuck with universities in the Toronto and Ottawa area. I felt torn about where to go. In the end I was more attracted to Toronto despite having lived in the GTA all my life. It’s probably an indication that I adore the city and its people.

When I came across Blogging the Just City during course selection, I thought it’d be an opportunity for me to learn a lot about blogging and the city in general.

I now realize Toronto isn’t as perfect as I once thought. Despite its imperfections, I still love the city. I hope it’ll become less divided so I can come to love it even more.