Idris Elba backs campaign to highlight illiteracy


Idris Elba is supporting a new campaign to shed light on the problems caused by illiteracy.

The Luther star has joined forces with Project Literacy, with the aim of highlighting the “invisible” problems that those who cannot read and write face, such as unemployment, poor health, incarceration, and homelessness.

Campaigners at Project Literacy have created an interactive digital city called IlliteraCity which uses real life data and demographics to explain the issues, and encourage people to get involved with providing solutions.

In a promotional video obtained by editors at British newspaper Metro, Idris asks: “Imagine living in a city where half the residents are homeless, where unemployment is rife and people are trapped in a cycle of crime, where they suffer from poor health, where they can’t vote or exercise their civic rights and two thirds of these residents are women. We call this place IlliteraCity.”

The Beasts of No Nation actor goes on to explain that “illiteracy is an invisible problem” that needs to change, as being literate can help “bring about brighter futures and it can change lives”.

“When I first started working with Project Literacy, I was shocked at how interlinked literacy levels were with some of the world’s greatest social and economic issues – and now ‘IlliteraCity’ brings these issues even more starkly to light,’” he told Metro. “One of the challenges of illiteracy is that it is a hidden problem; I hope through IlliteraCity we can bring greater attention to one of the greatest humanitarian issues of our time.”

Being unable to read and write affects five million British adults and 32 million people in the U.S., with women most affected.