ORLA: Organisation for Reading and Literature Access
A Peacemaking Project by Annissa L.
What is the injustice we are solving?
Access to literature is a serious injustice within my community, along with a vast proportion of others across the U.K. There are various benefits that literature can have both mentally, emotionally and economically and therefore the later you have access to literary resources - for both work and pleasure - the more likely you are to be behind in life compared to your more privileged counterparts. By the final year of compulsory schooling in England, the reading skills of children from disadvantaged backgrounds are on average almost three years behind those from the most affluent homes. Furthermore, in my community, there is a mass of hostels catering for young people, adults and women who have fled domestic violence sometimes with their young children. During time at hostels, many don’t have the funds to purchase any sort of mind stimulating materials. This is significant as it leads to an increase in feelings of depression and isolation as well as unproductiveness which ultimately drives more people towards substance abuse. Libraries are also ineffective in these scenarios as you need a permanent address to obtain a library card and borrow books. Additionally, individuals in this category are already struggling to make ends meet and therefore can’t spare the funds for the travel necessary to get to libraries in some areas. Ultimately, this is a long-standing issue that is yet to be addressed within my community. It affects various under-privileged groups due the correlation between wealth and ethnicity in my community. By helping these groups, they would certainly overcome obstacles academically and emotionally as they’d realise a greater sense of potential, ability, empathy and capable to exercise their right to engage in politics and vote - to name a few of the positive benefits of reading.