Share a Story for World Literacy Day: Empowering Imagination in the Caribbean

A cat in a hat, a very hungry caterpillar, a little engine that could, a hundred-acre wood—our best childhood friends are on their way to inspire a new generation of readers a few thousand miles from home, and you can help send them off.

World Literacy Day is fast approaching (September 8), a time to celebrate a major building block for human life—the ability to read. Literacy is the most powerful tool one can hold, but what feels like a right to many of us is a privilege for millions. According to the World Population Review, more than 781 million adults worldwide cannot read or write, having never been given the opportunity to learn as a child.

World Literacy Day Negril Cove Primary

The literacy rate in the Caribbean has been on the rise in the last few years, jumping to 94.29% in 2019. For years, The Sandals Foundation has dedicated itself to promoting literacy and education in the paradise we call home. We've invested in literacy training and the development of children and adults across the Caribbean every day, not just on World Literacy Day.

We know education goes beyond imagination, it requires infrastructure, that's where The Sandals Foundation, Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts have stepped in. Education in the Caribbean is a pillar on which the foundation has stood for many years, and in that time, we have provided local schools with the resources needed to help them reach their full potential.

Through massive infrastructure upgrades and a partnership with Coca-Cola LA, Tito’s Love, and the Rotary Club of Antigua Sundown, we've ensured sustainable water in schools and have overseen an ongoing water harvesting project in Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, Saint Lucia, Antigua and The Bahamas. With the promise of clean drinking water and hand washing stations, students in the Caribbean can turn their focus to education and self-betterment.

With your help and the support of valued partners we have been able to keep the promises we’ve made. With more than 283,000 books donated, we've supported more than 65 libraries across the Caribbean, refurbished 120 computer labs with up-to-date technology, trained more than 3,000 teachers, and awarded more than 200 scholarships and we are not done yet.

World Literacy Day Story

We're on a mission to read together, learn together, and grow together and the most important piece of that mission has always been you. Through the support of our guests, partners, travel agents, team members, and well-wishers, The Sandals Foundation will donate more books, support more schools, train more teachers, and ensure meaningful education for years to come.

Every child should have the right to education and imagination, an unspeakable gift that Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts guests and wider audiences can share with Caribbean children today.

World Literacy Day Computer

How can you spread the love for literacy to the Caribbean? Give the gift of imagination.

Throughout the entire month of September, guests of Sandals and Beaches Resorts are invited to Pack for a Purpose®, saving a bit of suitcase space for your favorite new or gently used children’s books. Upon arrival, guests can easily drop their well-loved stories at the lobby front desk, where our staff will be waiting to deliver them to deserving schools and libraries. Sandals Resorts began its partnership with Pack for a Purpose® in 2012, coming on ten years of impact from generous guests who have saved space in their suitcases for supplies to be donated to local families.

Don't have a vacation planned? You can still join in the fight to build literacy. Starting September 1, The Sandals Foundation will collect donations through the "Our Story For You" fundraiser, an online literacy campaign aimed at nurturing a love of reading and a fresh curiosity among children in the Caribbean. One $20 donation (made through the 'education' tab of The Sandals Foundation website) will fund the purchase of at least three books donated to Caribbean children in the name of World Literacy Day.

Suppose you've donated a book, but want to do more. In that case, The Sandals Foundation offers the opportunity to help make a positive and measurable difference in the future of a Caribbean child today.

For $35 a month, you can sponsor a Caribbean high school student who is currently unable to afford the tuition, materials, or uniforms required for their education through the Care for Kids Scholarship Program. For less than the price of your local delivery service, you can carry a Caribbean teen through graduation, knowing you've made a positive difference in the paradise you have so grown to love. The Sandals Foundation & Advisory Board reviews all applications and awards scholarships to students throughout Caribbean communities, bonding you to the future generation for years to come. Since the beginning, Sandals guests and contributors have sponsored a total of 200 teens in the Caribbean, with an additional 50 students estimated to be sponsored this year.

World Literacy Day Boy Reading

Currently inactive due to COVID-19 restrictions due to island specific government protocol but patiently awaiting its return is Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts' well-loved Reading Road Trip Program. This $25 excursion allows guests to visit local schools and read books to classrooms in the Caribbean. Families participate in a morning of edutainment focused on improving reading, listening, and comprehension skills and leaving everyone with a more profound sense of community. Since 2011, nearly 15,000 Sandals and Beaches guests have joined a Reading Road Trip, donating their time and kindness to local communities firsthand.

The efforts of Sandals' guests over the years can be seen across the walls of Caribbean communities. For $25, you can buy a brick to support educational efforts and be a literal building block for literacy. Bricks commemorating past donations can be seen at schools like Seville Golden Preschool and Culloden Infant School and across community buildings like the St. Ann's Bay Pharmacy and the Flanker Resource Centre. Each brick is adorned with the Sandals Foundation star icon and a personalized message from the donor.

World Literacy Day Miracle Tabernacle School Ocho Rios

If you want to be a part of our legacy of literacy, donate a book today, sponsor a child tomorrow, be among the first to reintroduce the Reading Road Trip Program on your next Sandals visit, as soon as it is safe to do so, or allow your impact to outlive your vacation by donating a brick and literally being a part of the walls of classrooms all around the Caribbean.

With your help, we're taking World Literacy Day as an opportunity to make a measurable impact in the Caribbean, promoting healthy reading habits amongst children at school, at home, and at play. Through "Our Story For You," you can set off a chain reaction of imagination, placing your favorite children's book in the hands of future generations. We're inviting you, our beloved Sandals guests, to join in our efforts to make a happier, healthier, and more imaginative life for Caribbean children.

Read More Travel Guides

Courtney Young

About Courtney Young

Courtney is a New York based writer and lover of travel. She is passionate about the exploration of cultures and the preservation of our planet. Her Caribbean destination of choice is Turks & Caicos.