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Lily Cole urges U.K. politicians to join fight against illiteracy

Model and actress Lily Cole has urged British politicians to take action against illiteracy around the world.
In a speech delivered at the U.K. Parliament in London on Tuesday morning (22Feb16), the university-educated star unveiled an alphabetical list of the problems she believes are partially caused by a lack of reading skills, including the spread of the HIV virus, gender inequality and religious radicalisation.
“A is for AIDS, because if you can’t read or write you are five times less likely to understand how people contract HIV,” Lily told U.K. Members of Parilament (MPs) in her speech.
“B is for bloodshed, because the rate of violent crimes such as murder and sexual assaults is almost double among the illiterate population. C is for child brides, because if all women had a primary education, child marriages would reduce by a sixth.”
The British beauty was speaking on behalf of Project Literacy, a charity backed global campaign to encourage world leaders to reduce the estimated 750 million people around the world who are unable to read.
Giving her reasons for backing the initiative, the 28-year-old insisted that the issue of illiterate children isn’t just restricted to less developed countries.
“Illiteracy is not just a ‘developing world’ problem,” she said. “It’s affecting children right here in the UK, with one in five British children leaving primary school unable to read or write.
“Illiteracy is also statistically related to many other global development issues. If we want to tackle many of the global challenges our world faces, we need to begin by properly addressing education and literacy.”
Activists at Project Literacy have launched a petition to be handed into the United Nations in September (16), urging governments and international bodies to take action to reduce illiteracy.

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