Enter the Smart Girls Art Competition for a chance to win a class reading with Robogals’ founder Marita Cheng


Friday 8 September is UNESCO International Literacy Day. ILD has been an annual global event since 1967, serving as a reminder that literacy is a human rights issue.

International Literacy Day 2023

The 2023 theme for International Literacy Day (ILD) is Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies.

In 2020, 763 million young people and adults lacked basic literacy skills, and this has since been exacerbated by the pandemic, the resulting economic crisis, climate change, and the impact of conflicts across the globe.

According to UNESCO “the share of 10-year-old children who could not read and understand a simple text with comprehension has increased from 57 per cent in 2019 to an estimated 70 per cent in 2022.”

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This year, ILD2023 is an opportunity to reflect on the integral role literacy plays in developing more inclusive communities, empowering peaceful living, just societies, and a sustainable future for the planet.

Smart Girls love literacy

Robogals founder Marita Cheng believes it takes “grit, creativity and passion to shape the future”. In Smart Girl Books – Marita Cheng, she shares her story of evolving from government housing in her childhood to becoming Young Australian of the Year, and the second youngest Member of the Order of Australia.

For International Literacy Day next week, Ms Cheng and her team have shifted their focus from numeracy to literacy, swapping coding and STEM activities for the owner of the written word.

They’ve created the Smart Girls Art Competition, for Australian students up to 12 years old, who are invited to create art inspired by Al or robotics. Entries in any format – from drawing, painting and collage, to digital, sculpture, knitting and beyond – need to be submitted online by Friday 8 September.

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Finalists will receive one of ten books signed by Ms Cheng and she’ll read her book to the class of the winning artist in an online session.

smart girls international literacy day art competition

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By Charlie
Charlie Writes is a Sydney based, London born, Caribbean writer, interviewer and poet. A colourful 27 year career has taken Charlie from typing poems on the spot on her 1970’s typerwiter named June, to donning a hard hat as a roving reporter in the construction industry. All while living out her favourite quote that the greatest adventures begin with a simple conversation.