The Kindle Wireless Reading Device and World Illiteracy

Watching people enjoy the broadsheets and their favorite bestsellers on Kindle (A wireless reading device for rendering and displaying e-books and other digital media) a community organizer (C.O.) cannot but be ambivalent about the amazing device. On one hand, the device takes the C.O. to the heights of gratitude at the wonders of the human mind that has soared from one invention to the next. Imagine holding a huge library in your hand! This gadget wasn’t even a figment of the imagination in the 50’s, a time when the world was already in the digital age as IBM (International Business Machines) entered into “The History of Computers” in 1953 (http://inventors.about.com/library/blcoindex.htm). It’s so amazing to see the expression of the beauty of the human mind and benefit from its creation. On the other hand illiteracy in poor countries is alarming. Back in 1998, according to a UNICEF (United Nations Children fund) study, only one quarter of the world’s children were in school at the close of the 20th century and that by the 21st century, illiteracy would be on the rise. The prediction was not from hearsay. You and I see the reality of illiteracy in the world today as predicted.

In the Philippines, as we watched CNN on November 16, 2009, we were very much touched by the CNN Hero of the Year Award that went to Efren Peñaflorida, a young Filipino, whose commitment and passion to teach boys and girls from urban poor communities using a push cart library reached heroic level. The world needs millions of Efren Peñaflorida to help poor and deprived young boys and girls become literate for literacy is one of the foundations of society’s growth and development. If dreams are the beginnings of great things, won’t it be weird to dream of children from poor communities sitting around on weekends reading their favorite books on Kindle?

CNN