Each year, STEP supports a charitable organisation through its Private Client Awards. Instead of charging an entry fee to the Awards, we ask entrants to make a donation to our chosen charity; attendees can donate at the event itself, and STEP members can also donate online here. Charity partnerships are for three years, and previous partners include Room to Read, Feed the Minds, the International Senior Lawyers Project, and Operation Smile. We typically raise in excess of GBP200,000 over the three-year partnership as a result of the incredible generosity of entrants, attendees and STEP members.
This year we have started working with a new charity partner, the World Literacy Foundation (WLF). Here, Louise James and Paula Rico introduce the charity and its work.
Imagine you had no education and could not read or write, blog Louise James and Paula Rico. How difficult would your life be? Most of us take our literacy skills for granted but there are over 750m illiterate people (according to UNESCO) who cannot read a single word, and more than 2 billion who struggle to read and write a sentence.
While this means enormous difficulties with such everyday tasks as reading a newspaper, understanding a traffic sign, or filling in a job application, the full consequences of illiteracy or functional illiteracy go much further, resulting in the marginalisation of many individuals from actively participating in their communities and societies.
The WLF was created in 2003 to reduce children’s illiteracy rates worldwide. The charity works to ensure every child, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to acquire literacy skills to succeed at school and beyond. Last year it reached 315,000 children and young people in five continents, and distributed over 26,600 books.
The charity uses the latest educational technology, including digital programs, solar-powered tablets and smartphone apps, to aid teaching and learning work in Africa and South America. It is also active in marginalised communities in Australia, the UK and the US. The WLF is also a global promoter of literacy, aiming to spread awareness, educate and mobilise people to action.
The WLF’s work would not be possible without the support of volunteers, donors and corporate partners, such as STEP, which has nominated us as its charity partner for the Private Client Awards for the next three years. All funds raised will support our literacy projects across the world, benefiting the lives of thousands of vulnerable children.
WLF founder and ceo Andrew G Kay said, ‘I strongly believe literacy is the pathway to young people reaching their full potential and is a route out of poverty. I am absolutely delighted that STEP has chosen to support WLF through this special partnership. By raising awareness of our work and encouraging fundraising through its networks, STEP is making a big difference for children in poverty.
‘The PCA, that brings together so many top law firms, tax specialists and practitioners, is simply a wonderful platform for WLF to share news about the impact our literacy work has and why donations received are so vital. Thank you.’
If you are able to read this article then count yourself lucky; at some point, you learned to read and write and you have the power to take action and help those who cannot. Find out more about the WLF at www.worldliteracyfoundation.org.
Louise James, UK and Europe Fundraising Manager and Paula Rico, Marketing Coordinator, World Literacy Foundation.