Illiteracy is a taboo; and a shameful one for many.
About 9% of the working population in France (i.e. people in the 18-65 y.o. age bracket) are illiterate. Those 3.1 million people have trouble doing, or are simply unable to do, simple everyday things such as making phone calls, getting cash out of ATMs, figuring out Metro maps, reading medicine labels and school report cards, etc.
The French language distinguishes illettrisme and analphabétisme: people in the first category have been to school in France – and sometimes finished it – and French is their mother tongue. Those are the ones that we are focusing on.
Breaking out of illiteracy is as important as forestalling it. That is one of the reasons why this Foundation has decided to focus its efforts on families.
The Foundation is targeting illiteracy from two angles :
—- Focusing on families: helping children to steer clear of illiteracy and helping their parents to overcome it;
—- Raising public awareness (media campaigns, etc.) to take out the sting.
This Foundation ran a France-wide call for bids in February 2010. It attracted ideas from 127 associations, and we selected 31 of them. We have helped about 415 families to get back in touch with reading and writing.
So far, we have invested more than €300,000 to help people dealing with illiteracy.
For more information, read Illiteracy : overview