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Free coffee for a poem day across Croatia on 21 March

(Photo: Julius Meinl)

24 February 2020 – Although technology and globalisation are advancing at an unprecedented rate, 14 percent of the world’s population is illiterate, and poverty and insurmountable inequalities continue to prevail in parts of the world. 

We live in a world where emojis are the fastest growing language, with young people reading and writing less and less. Croats are also below average in reading literacy, which was revealed in last year’s PISA test (an international program of testing the knowledge and skills of students aged 15) results. 

Numerous professional studies have shown that poetry can be essential for improving early literacy as it supports phonetic awareness and builds basic skills such as vocabulary, reading fluency and improved expression. That’s why Viennese Julius Meinl, synonymous with quality coffee and tea, has partnered with Worldreader, a global non-profit that offers free access to a library of digital books through e-readers and mobile phones to combat illiteracy. 

Since 2010, 13 million people in 50 countries have read thousands of eBooks from the Worldreader digital library.

“Reading has the power to transform. Our goal at Worldreader is for everyone on the planet to have access to this power of words to improve and transform their lives, to which poetry contributes greatly. The rhythm and rhyme of the poem at the basic level is a natural basis for developing literacy skills, so poetry can be a great tool to introduce to the world of reading and help unlock human creativity, “said Colin McElwee, Worldreader’s co-founder and published author and poet.

Colin McElwee (Photo: Julius Meinl)

The Poetry event Pay coffee with a poem this year with the message Every Verse Counts aims to raise 100,000 verses / donations to support global literacy. The raised funds will fund literacy projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and India, the countries most affected by low literacy issues, from which Julius Meinl coffee originated.

“This is the seventh year of the Pay coffee with a poem event designed to spark moments of poetic inspiration with coffee and tea in more than 40 countries. Unfortunately, poetry is a privilege that not everyone in the world has the opportunity to enjoy, so this year we want to encourage people to rediscover the power of words and help combat illiteracy,”said Marcel Löffler, CEO of Julius Meinl.

(Photo: Julius Meinl)

In partnership with Worldreader, Julius Meinl has prepared a collection of poems for both advanced readers and beginners. The collection is available for free on the Worldreader platform at: https://read.worldreader.org/Collection, and can be accessed through mobile phones.  

Poetry lovers can support the project by writing lyrics on International Poetry Day, March 21, at cafes across Croatia in exchange for free coffee or tea. The most inspirational lyrics will be published on the Worldreader platform for millions of people around the world to read and enjoy.

(Photo: Julius Meinl)

Find out more about the locations and the event in Croatia here. 

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