1-International Literacy Day
Many of us don’t spend much time thinking about literacy and how it affects our lives. However, for many people around the world, especially in the developing world, learning is a luxury. Imagine being one of the 781 million people that can’t read or write. It would make understanding a job advertisement or even taking the proper dosage of medication nearly impossible.
About the day: Learning, knowledge and literacy have the power to take families out of poverty and change the lives of whole communities, especially in the developing world. International Literacy Day was created by the organisation UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 1965 and since then individuals and organisations have been celebrating the day every year on 8th September. On this day, UNESCO reminds everyone of the importance of literacy and learning globally. Their aim is to highlight its importance to people and societies around the world.
Facts: According to the UN, globally, around 781 million adults don’t have the minimum literacy skills and 67.4million children are out of school. That means nearly one in five adults are illiterate, two thirds of which are women. International Literacy Day seeks to change this.
Join the celebration: In many countries access to quality education is extremely limited, so families are likely to continue generation after generation not being able to read and write. The good news is this doesn’t have to be the case. International Literacy Day spreads awareness and raises funds to fight illiteracy in the developing world. Here are some things you can also do to help:
- 1 Make a donation to a literacy charity or reading association.
- 2 Educate yourself about UNESCO’s work in Africa and Asia, and go out and spread the word.
- 3 Start a reading club with your friends and celebrate reading.
- 4 Volunteer to teach literacy classes in your local community.
Don’t forget to celebrate your own right to read this September. Relax and enjoy a good book, learn something new or remember what made you love reading so much in the first place.
– What was the last book you read? Do you have a favourite novel? Work in pairs and tell your partner about it
– Read the article and answer the questions.
- 1 Who set up International Literacy Day?
- 2 When was it set up?
- 3 What is the aim of the day?
- 4 How many people around the world are estimated to be unable to read and write?
- 5 What could you do to get involved with International Literacy Day?
– What type of activities would you do to celebrate International Literacy Day? In small groups, plan your own International Literacy Day event or activity.
-Make a poster and present it to your class.
2-International Day of Democracy
Thanks for visiting my blog campaignfordemocracy.org.uk!
I’m a campaigner for democracy and a peaceful protestor, and I’ve created this website to gain support for my campaigns and to also educate people about an important day, International Day of Democracy. Democracy is about equality, fairness and independence, and I want everyone to be passionate about it.
The International Day of Democracy is a United Nations observance day, which means it’s not a public holiday. It was set up by the UN in 2007 with the purpose of raising awareness about democracy. It’s held annually on 15th September and many people and organisations worldwide hold various initiatives on the day: discussions, press conferences with speakers who are leaders or educators involved in supporting democratic governments and communities, etc.
The theme for last year’s day was democracy education, which is essential for the long-term success of democracy. It’s only with educated citizens that democracy can continue to grow. This is really important in countries that have only recently transitioned to democracy. Many people have experienced life in a regime or have never been given the chance to vote in a democratic election. It’s hoped that this event can educate these people and give them a voice.
Through days like this, big changes can be made to people who live around the world. For example, through the UN’s work in Tunisia, they helped organize a record number of young people to participate in the first democratic elections in October 2011. They used a mixture of traditional and social media campaigns, and with the help of a popular radio station, they released a Facebook game and song, which encouraged people to vote.
If you’d like to take part in the International Day of Democracy, there are many different things you can do. First of all, you can visit your local parliament. You should think about what democracy means to you and discuss it with friends and family. If you write a blog or use social media, share your thoughts online. Or … how about getting involved with a cause locally that means something to you?
This year I’m attending a demonstration to save our public library from being closed down. It may only seem like a small cause, but I believe if it means something to you, you should do something about it. That’s really what this day is about, having the freedom to express your opinions and knowing that your opinion matters.
1 Which things make a democratic society? What do you think life would be like without democracy?
2 Read the article. What do you remember about the things below:
observance day / the United Nations / the theme of last year’s International Day of Democracy / the UN’s work in Tunisia
3 In pairs, organize your own peaceful protest or campaign. You have to decide on a cause that is important to you and how you will gain public support for it. Then decide on the best ways you can get your voice heard or message across, and help educate others about the cause. Make a poster and present it to the class.
3-Safer Internet Day
On the second Tuesday in February we will be celebrating the annual Safer Internet Day (SID). The theme for this year’s event will be Online Rights and Responsibilities, which reminds us of what it means to be a positive digital citizen and encourages everyone to ‘Connect with Respect’. SID is organized by Insafe, a European network of Awareness Centres, which promote safe and responsible use of the internet and mobile devices to young people. Last year, 10 million participants around the world took part in activities and events on the day. This year Insafe will be working with other internet safety organisations and the European commission to raise awareness of everyone’s rights and responsibilities in relation to the online world.
Internet Radio: The UK Safer Internet Centre will be presenting an all-day radio programme, SID Live, from 9am to 9pm and broadcasting it on the internet and around the world. Listeners will be able to send in text messages, emails, instant messages and even call in with questions for the expert panel. The programmes will also feature interviews with key experts from around the world offering tips, hints and suggestions to help make the internet a fun and safe place for everyone.
Listening to young people: The UK Safer Internet Centre will also be putting young people’s views first by providing them with a survey to share their thoughts and views. The website will be looking for young people to have their say and they will be able to vote online about what they think are their top rights and responsibilities.
Working with Schools: Throughout the run-up to the day, the UK Safer Internet Centre will be working with schools in the UK to encourage young people to use the opportunity of the day to help someone else stay safe.
So if internet security and safety is important to you, make sure you get involved. Follow the Facebook and Twitter campaigns online or view SID videos past and present on Youtube. Spread the message far and wide on blogs and social media, and don’t forget to contact your National Awareness centre or local SID committee where you can find out about what’s going on in your country.
– Match the parts of the questions. Then read the article and answer them.
– Answer the questions and share your answers with your class:
- • What do you think it means to ‘connect with respect’?
- • What do you think your online rights and responsibilities are?
- • Have you ever fallen victim to an internet scam? What happened? What did you do?
- • How can you keep safe while using the internet? Think of five tips to share with the class.
4-World Health Day
World Health Day is celebrated around the world annually on 7th April to mark the founding of WHO, the World Health Organisation, in 1948. Not only does it celebrate the start of the organisation, but it also gives them an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to the importance of global health each year. Every year the WHO selects a theme for World Health Day that highlights an important health concern in the world. In previous years, the themes of the day have focused on issues such as making hospitals safer, international health security, making cities healthier and protecting health from the effects of climate change. Last year the theme was high blood pressure and the slogan for this year’s campaign was, ‘Healthy Heart Beat, Healthy Blood Pressure’.
According to the WHO, even though high blood pressure is treatable without undergoing any surgery or medical procedures, there is a global need to control this ‘silent killer’, which contributes to heart disease, stroke and kidney problems. This year the World Health Day campaign specifically aimed to:
- • raise awareness of the causes, consequences and treatments of high blood pressure
- • give people more information on how to prevent it
- • encourage adults to get their blood pressure checked regularly
It is estimated that one in three adults have raised blood pressure, however the risk of developing it can be reduced by cutting down on salt, eating a balanced diet, avoiding alcohol, getting regular exercise, not smoking and losing weight.
Around the world the WHO organizes international, regional and local events on the day related to the theme. WHO also encourages people of all ages to share their experiences through social media about how they are getting involved, to host discussion groups on the theme, or to organize an event to spread the news.
Even though high blood pressure isn’t usually associated with children and young people, the WHO’s goal was to also raise awareness for these age groups about staying active, eating a balanced diet and establishing healthy behaviour. Children and young people were invited to the fairs where they had a chance to get their hearts pumping and take part in activities like rugby, football and karate.
You can learn more about World Health Day by visiting the WHO’s website and finding out how you can take part in next year’s event.
-Read the article and match the words with their definitions.
1 blood pressure 2 reduce 3 mark 4 slogan 5 associated 6 theme
- A a phrase easy to remember and used to attract people’s attention
- B the subject or main idea
- C the pressure of blood as it flows around the body
- D celebrate an event that you consider to be important
- E to make something less
- F joined with another
– In pairs, imagine that you work for WHO and you are part of a team organizing next year’s World Health Day. Decide on a theme for the day and what global health issue you want to raise awareness about. Decide what the aims of your campaign will be and what events and activities you could organize to get people involved on the day. Share your ideas with the class.
5-International Recycling Day
– Would you like to take part in the International Recycling Day? What activities could people do to get involved? Do you think it’s important to have a day dedicated to recycling? Give your reasons.
A radio interview about International Recycling Day.
Marc: Good evening listeners and welcome once again to ‘Festival Guide’. I’m Marc James, and joining me tonight in the studio is our resident festival expert Georgina Levine. So Georgina, what have you got for us today?
Georgina: Well, Marc, on Monday I was lucky enough to spend the day with the event organizer for International Recycling Day in the UK, Mary Hobbs, as she and her team were getting ready for the big event. I interviewed her about the day and asked her what it is all about.
Marc: International Recycling Day, I’ve never heard of that.
Georgina: I had never heard of it either until I met Mary. But it exists. It’s a really amazing day. Its main aim is to raise awareness about helping the environment.
Marc: So can you tell our listeners what’s the history behind it? Does it just take part in the UK?
Georgina: No, it’s a global event and many countries around the world celebrate it on 17th May, the day of recycling. Mary told me that although the origin of the celebration is unclear, it has become a custom that is popular internationally. What’s interesting about the day is it isn’t only one event in one country, like other festivals, but many different environmental organisations and conservation groups each holding their own planned events and educational activities in their countries, all on the theme of recycling.
Marc: It sounds like it’s really all about everyone getting together and getting involved.
Georgina: Yes, exactly. Mary informed me that International Recycling Day is designed to make everyone become more aware of how important it is that we treat our waste in the right way. She told me that recycling not only helps reverse climate change, but it saves our natural resources, reduces pollution and creates jobs.
Marc: So what activities is Mary’s team planning this year?
Georgina: They’ve organized different activities, field trips, tours of recycling centres, community cleanups and educational workshops. They’re hoping to also raise money through an exhibition they’re holding that will be selling artwork made from recycled material. Mary told me they want to raise money for conservation charities in South America whose work helps to protect endangered species. As you know many animals are close to extinction because their natural habitats are being destroyed by land development and farming. More and more trees are being cut down. Mary said that International Recycling Day makes people aware that recycling not only benefits the environment around us, but also has a positive impact on the world as a whole, its people and its animal species. Mary ended by saying if we all recycled more, we wouldn’t have to cut down trees and use up our natural resources. She hopes International Recycling day will get this message across to everyone.
2 Read the text. In pairs, answer the questions.
- What is the aim of International Recycling Day?
- What is the history behind the day?
- Why is recycling important?
- What does International Recycling Day hope to achieve?
3 In pairs, discuss what people recycle in your country. How much do you recycle?
4 Work in small groups. How could you get people to recycle more? Organize a campaign to increase recycling in your area. Make a poster and present your ideas to the class.
1 Is there any sport you enjoyed watching during the last Olympic Games? Which sport was it? Why?
International Olympic Day was celebrated across the world in some 160 countries yesterday, 23rd June, with lots of different sports events and activities taking place. And this year the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Movement were celebrating their 67th Olympic Day.
Celebrating the birth of the modern day Olympics in 1948, Olympic Day is much more than just a sporting event. It is seen as an opportunity to encourage everyone to get moving, learn about the benefits of physical activity, discover new sports and think about the Olympic ethics of excellence, friendship and respect.
Young people throughout the UK celebrated the day with a number of different organized events. The British Olympic Association was just one of nine National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate the first Olympic Day in 1948, but now it has grown into a global celebration with millions of people enjoying the Olympic spirit. In the UK, for more than a decade, the University of Bath has organized the largest celebrations in the country.
This year they incorporated their Olympic Day into a Family Fun Day held on 22nd June, which gave people of all ages the chance to try new and different sporting activities, including tackling a mobile climbing wall, racing down an outdoor zip wire and also having free taster sessions in various sports, including bobsleighing!
One of the local schools in Bath also went all out to celebrate the event and held a whole Olympic week. They began last Monday with an opening ceremony followed by a 3 km run. Local sporting heroes and Olympic athletes attended the day and were also seen taking part in the sport races.
One school in Yorkshire held a global week for students to learn about the cultures and sports of other nations before they had their own sports day, in which they took part in Olympic events such as a 100m sprint race, relay race and half-marathon run.
In Glasgow in Scotland, they celebrated the event by showing the city’s passion for the Olympic Games. Through various sports activities they demonstrated why they should be chosen to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
For everyone involved this year, it gave them the chance to reflect on the meaning of the Olympic Games and to remember that the important thing is not winning or losing but knowing how to play well.
2 Read the text and write the questions to the following answers:
- On 23rd June.
- For the past 67 years.
- Excellence, friendship and respect.
- At the University of Bath for the last decade.
- Glasgow in Scotland.
3 How successful was your country during the last Olympic Games? Which sports did your country win medals in? Is your country famous for being the best at a particular sport? Why do you think that is? Discuss as a class.