Educational Needs

Championing the Value and Power of Literacy for Children and Adults Across the Globe

First established by the United Nations more than 50 years ago, International Literacy Day is celebrated annually on September 8.

The motive behind the celebration of International Literacy Day is to assist the world community in encouraging literacy as an essential skill and tool for empowering individuals and communities. The current focus and objective is for all youth and a large percentage of adults, both men and women, to attain literacy and numeracy by 2030.

Two young girls read the Bible togetherThe Passion and Power of Literacy

Imagine childhood without your favorite book. A rainy day without that novel you can’t put down. Sending a child to sleep without being able to read them that bedtime story.

The ability to read is something many of us take for granted. We don’t think about it — but reading is a vital skill that doesn’t just bring joy. It brings life.

And when you can’t do it? It takes away.

Reading helps us develop. It helps us imagine. It helps us make our way in the world. But today, global literacy rates show that millions of children and adults don’t have the ability to practice and enjoy the basic and essentials skills of reading and writing.

Connecting the Dots Between Poverty and Illiteracy

The Importance of Literacy Skills

Literacy and skills development is important for the healthy development of every person and for the sustainable development of communities, countries and the world.

For millions of children and families in poverty, not being able to read or write means more than not enjoying books and stories or not being able to write their names. It drastically impacts their quality of life because poverty and education are intertwined.

Illiteracy takes away opportunities. It limits job potential. It increases the risk for trafficking and exploitation. It prevents children from dreaming.

"There remain today 758 million adults who cannot read or write a simple sentence…these women and men are more vulnerable to ill health, exploitation and human rights abuse. They are more likely to be unemployed and paid less. Unable to read or write, they are held back from their full potential, and whole communities are locked into vicious cycles of poverty that lay the conditions for violence and strife."
— Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

Why Can't They Read?

An education isn’t a given for children in poverty. In many areas of the world, school isn’t free like it is in other countries. It’s is an expensive luxury many families simply can’t afford.

Each day, parents must choose between making ends meet or sending their children to school.

Hard-working moms must decide if giving up that set of extra hands to run the family business is really worth it.

Dads must determine how to make that miles-long journey on foot to the schoolhouse.

And even the lucky kids who get to go to school have limited options, as their families must choose between putting food on the table, visiting the doctor, or extra expenses like books, uniforms, and supplies.

A Binding Reality

The reality is – millions of children in poverty can’t go to school. They will never learn to read or write. They will never have the freedom to dream.

But you can change that.

An education can provide children with a bright and better future. It instills hope and purpose. It encourages daring dreams and lifelong learning. It contributes to sustainable societies, and it brings healing and transformation for families, communities and entire nations.

"Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope…For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right."
— Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations

What Can Happen When a Child Learns to Read?

Imagine the impact

Imagine an eight year old girl from a small village in Africa or Asia. Her family lives in poverty. They could never afford to send her to school. But thanks to a generous donation from a supporter like you, she becomes the first in her family to attend.

A young Indonesian girl holds a pencil and sits at a table with an open notebook on it

On her first day, she is nervous. She slips on her brand new uniform while her mother prepares breakfast. She ties her shoes, grabs her bag of books, and heads out the door.

When she gets to school, she is greeted by new friends and a smiling teacher. She begins to learn. She begins to hope. And because of this new opportunity, she gains a skill that will not only set her up for success, but impact her family and community.

Because she can read, she will be able to get a job, avoid forced childhood marriage, and chart a course for generations to come.

And when someone asks, "What would you like to be when you grow up?" She smiles. Because for the first time in her life, she believes something is possible.

Only 49%
actually attend school

4.5 Million
are unable to attend school

not attending school are female


How We Help to Educate

Compassion's Educational Needs fund provides the resources for children to complete and go beyond a primary education. It helps students to stay in school and receive an education that enables them to succeed and thrive in life.

The Educational Needs fund provides the literacy and skills development for children and adults to compete in a digital world.

Contribute to this fund today to help a child receive a quality education.

Give today to equip a student with books, school supplies and a school uniform.

Donate today keep a student in school and help children and adults in poverty learn to read and write.

Turn the Page on Poverty and Literacy

Everybody deserves the opportunity to learn to read, to write and to receive a quality education — and you can help.

In honor of International Literacy Day, support the education and literacy of children in poverty by donating to our Educational Needs fund or by sponsoring a child's education.

When you give, you help provide:

Book icon
Classes & Supplies

Textbooks, postsecondary courses, test and lab supplies

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Recreation and Digital Learning

Playgrounds, libraries, and computer labs

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Nurturing Success

Vocational training, financial training and adult literacy for caregivers

Give With Confidence

With Compassion, your donation is used wisely to help children around the world.

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Have Questions About Compassion and How We Work?

Donating to a charity is an important decision. So when you’re passionate about a cause and want to make a difference, we encourage you to do your research. Compassion is 100% committed to financial integrity, stewardship and using each dollar wisely. If you have any questions about Compassion or exactly how your donation will be used, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Please call us at 800-336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT, to speak with a Compassion representative.