Language For Life

The Language for Life programme offers concrete solutions to adults who struggle with reading and writing, by organising language courses tailored to individual needs and empowering communities with trained volunteers. The program was initiated in 2012 as a pilot, inspired by successful experiences in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States of America. Following the success during the pilot phase, Language for Life will be scaled up nationally from 2016 onwards.


The programme is based on four Ps:

  • Personal approach: courses organised close to the people who need it.
  • Practical methods: the course material includes practical examples that are recognisable and applicable in daily life.
  • Presence: the programme is present in almost every aspect of daily life thanks to partnerships with actors across society.
  • Policy: the programme’s approach must be sustainably embedded in national and local policies, making sure employers, municipalities and welfare organisations make literacy a fixed factor in their procedures.

In the Language for Life pilot in 2013 and 2015, RWF trained well over 5,000 volunteers and that number is still increasing. These volunteers are trained – and supervised – by professionals. Working together with over 500 partner organisations we reached almost 15,000 people, and 70 % of them have successfully improved their literacy skills. This number is substantially higher than similar programmes in Belgium (50 % improvement) and Italy (34 % improvement) have achieved (Maastricht University). According to calculations by PricewaterhouseCoopers, every euro spent on Language for Life yields almost double the revenue in social and health benefits. People that completed the programme can compete better in the job market and feel healthier physically and mentally.