One of the most heavily emphasized features of Invictus Institute’s mentoring program is teaching English. In addition to reviewing what they already cover in school, our volunteer mentors use free online resources to teach the language, the intent being to give them a valuable new skill to move forward in life. Here I summarize how much learning English can help our students (though this is certainly not an all-inclusive list of benefits).

As explained by Academia International, “English is one of the most widely spoken languages.” As of 2015, “there were 54 sovereign states and 27 non-sovereign entities where English was an official language [i.e., used between government officials and citizens].” The list includes the U.S., Hong Kong, and Kenya to name just a few. Understanding this common denominator language opens the doors for a myriad of connections and communications with the worldwide community, whether the focus be on academic instruction or opportunities for employment.

The latter is worth exploring more deeply. After all, the vision behind Invictus Institute’s work is to assist in the elimination of poverty worldwide. Finding quality, well-paying jobs is therefore critical. A study reported by The Guardian estimated that “the language can increase the earning power of individuals by around 25%,” and that is just on average. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, that figure booms into 500% for Indian citizens!

Apart from the individuals Invictus Institute tutors, gains in prosperity await foreign economies as a whole through the implementation of English. A Harvard Business Review article from 2013 discovered a positive correlation between English skills (measured by their EF English Proficiency Index) and per capita income. As English comprehension rises, so does per capita income of the entire nation. For many of the U.N.’s least developed countries, (a list including two of Invictus Institute’s primary hubs, Uganda and Bangladesh) a grasp of English could be the foothold on which to pull their societies out of poverty.

As the saying goes, English is the language of business. Yet in spite of the impressive rewards awaiting English speakers, relatively few are ever able to embrace them. That same study reported by The Guardian found that “urban elites,” make up the disproportionately small number of beneficiaries of English understanding, thanks to “access to a better standard of teaching – mostly delivered through private education – and higher-paid jobs.”

Invictus Institute, however, is determined to change that. One by one, we are determined to bring these valuable skills to children of all socioeconomic statuses across the globe. We will give them the tools they need to pull themselves towards a flourishing future. And in so doing, they will bring their loved ones and their nations as a whole along with them.