This Is What Happens When People Are Stripped Of Their Ability To Read, Write And Count

Most of us all take the ability to read and write and work with numbers for granted, after all, that's what school is for in our formative years, to give us a solid, grounded education in the basic forms of non verbal communication and problem solving. In fact, in any developed country we all take it for granted.

But have you ever wondered how you would function if suddenly all of these abilities were suddenly taken away from you? No big deal, right. Life would go on, i could still work and complete most of my work duties, couldn't i? Well actually the answer is NO. Not even close. In fact the reality of this is pretty scary.

In the thought provoking video ­above 'Could you forget everything you ever learned?', members of society from all walks of life including doctors, students, parole officers and teachers are hypnotized into temporary illiteracy, and then asked to perform basic tasks such as reciting the alphabet, telling the time or writing their name.

The fascinating social experiment shows how even a temporary loss of literacy turns their worlds upside down. Everyday tasks become impossible to execute – and even dangerous. In the video, a doctor is seen unable to read a medicine bottle and a playwright cannot read the script she’d penned herself.

The hypnotized volunteers are experiencing something like this temporarily, but the stark truth is that this passing experience could be a permanent reality for millions of refugee children who are not receiving basic education. Without providing an education for children fleeing conflict and instability, they won’t have just lost their homes, they’ll have lost their future.

The film ends by posing a question to the viewer: Where would you be now without an education?

Roxane Philson, Chief Marketing Officer at ONE (a campaigning and advocacy organisation of more than seven million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa) said “No one can reach their full potential without an education. We wanted to make that point in the most visceral way possible. The volunteers got a small glimpse of how different their lives would be if they couldn’t read or write. But for the millions of refugee children who won’t get an education it’s not just a scary few moments – it’s a lifetime of missed opportunities. This can and must change."

Launching before world leaders and government officials meet at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants as well as President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, on the 19th and 20th September, the film aims to encourage people to take action by signing a petition to put education at the forefront of discussions at the summits. If successful, this will set in motion a plan to provide 1 million refugee children with an education by the end of the school year.

You can take part and sign the petition here.


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