Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box. There’s no doubt that both poverty and illiteracy are great problems in many parts of the world. But what can one person do to make a difference and improve the situation? You are asking a very big question!
In our opinion, a good way to start is first to think about your own community setting, and the resources – people, money, and time – you have available (or can make available) there. Then, you might ask yourself what specific actions can you take in your community right now that are realistic and that will have a good chance of success?
Those actions may be small in size and scope. But if you can achieve even a small success, that is a very good thing. That’s because success will lead to positive outcomes for you and your community, and also because success will most likely increase your own confidence and the community’s confidence as well.
In different words, success builds momentum. And that means it will increase the chances of your taking future actions in the same area.
To find the best actions, though, will usually take thinking and planning before you actually get going. This planning time will pay off for you later on. You might want to plan your work together with other people in your setting who feel as you do, both because better ideas may emerge from discussion, and because several people can then share the work you decide upon.
Also, as you think further, you might consult the sections in Chapter 18 in the Community Tool Box, which discusses Deciding Where to Start. The sections in Chapter 19, on designing interventions, may also be helpful to you.
Thanks again for being in touch, and all best wishes for great success in your work.