Kerala-born Tess Polouse named 2024 Youth Ambassador for World Literacy

By Our Reporter
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Tess Poulose // Pic supplied

The World Literacy Foundation has named Tess Polouse as its Youth Ambassador for 2024. Based in Ballarat, Tess will champion local education initiatives aimed at raising awareness about the importance of literacy and enhancing community literacy rates.

Originally from Kerala, India, Tess moved to Australia at the age of two, where her upbringing emphasised the values of kindness and community service. “I’m thrilled to contribute to the World Literacy Foundation as a volunteer ambassador. I’m eager to dedicate my time and effort to making a positive impact on literacy,” she expresses.

As part of a global cohort of 15- to 25-year-olds from 40 countries, Tess’s role transcends her local community. She is committed to improving literacy outcomes globally, viewing literacy as a fundamental human right that empowers individuals to engage fully in society, access vital information, and make informed decisions.

“My motivation springs from a desire to extend these opportunities to others,” she affirms.

Driven by a passion for effecting meaningful change and ensuring equitable access to literacy resources, Tess’s dedication aligns with global efforts to combat illiteracy and promote education as a cornerstone of human dignity.

With aspirations in the medical field, Tess recognises the critical intersection between literacy and health in Australia. She highlights that a lack of health literacy affects approximately 60 per cent of Australians, impairing their ability to understand medical information and manage their health effectively. This shows the urgency of literacy initiatives, such as those championed by the World Literacy Foundation.

“In Australia, 44 per cent of adults lack essential literacy skills, limiting their job prospects, earning potential, and access to essential services,” Tess notes, emphasising the broad impact of literacy on socioeconomic well-being.

The World Literacy Foundation is a leading international nonprofit dedicated to eradicating illiteracy globally by 2040. With 770 million people worldwide unable to read a single word and an additional 2 billion struggling with basic reading skills, the Foundation addresses the profound social and economic implications of illiteracy, particularly among children in low-income households.

As Youth Ambassador, Polouse will leverage her role to develop leadership skills and raise awareness of literacy issues within her community and beyond, contributing to the Foundation’s mission of creating a future where literacy barriers are significantly reduced.


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