The Sustainable Development Goals are targets which member states of the United Nations have agreed to work toward. The goals cover a plethora of issues from poverty, education and health, to sustainable development, environmental factors and equality with the aim of transforming our world.
ALTA’s work falls mainly under goal number 4: Quality Education. This goal speaks to “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all” (United Nations, 2017). A solid education is truly one of the best ways to improve people’s lives. It is out of this idea that our current ‘live your best life with ALTA’ campaign was born. Goal number 4 is a means of encouraging governments around the world to invest in quality education and increase access to education – especially for young girls who for different cultural and economic reasons are often denied even a primary school level education. Many persons think that this only happens in poorer countries and regions, but there are many ALTA students who never learned to read and write because they were forced to leave school early to take care of relatives, work or help out at home.
In Trinidad and Tobago education is mostly free but this is not enough. To ensure quality education our system has to be one which ensures that students in secondary school are literate – you would be surprised how many students in Forms 2 and 3 around our country struggle daily with reading and writing. By providing reading, writing and spelling classes to adults (16+), ALTA hopes to empower persons through literacy. Our comprehensive, structured literacy programme offers anyone over the age of 16, the opportunity to improve their literacy skills using materials produced by ALTA with our students in mind. The programme ensures that our students are able to read to their children and assist them with their homework. This can change the culture of a home – parents become more involved in their children’s academic life and the material learned at ALTA benefit both parent and child. In this way ALTA is contributing to Sustainable Development Goal number 4.
Our work also contributes to Sustainable Development Goal number 1: No Poverty and Goal number 10: Reduced Inequalities. Poor literacy skills undoubtedly affect individuals holistically, but people who cannot read and write well are more likely to live in poverty due to unemployment or lack of stable employment. People with poor literacy skills earn generally 30-42% less than people who are literate and their income tends to remain the same throughout their working life, as their literacy skills stop them from furthering their studies (World Literacy Foundation, 2015). Literacy can improve someone’s socio-economic status and also give them new opportunities.
ALTA is proud to contribute to three of the Sustainable Development Goals through our literacy programme.