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|© Melany Markham/ABM.|
LITERAcy GOES BEYOND READING A BOOK
… not being able to read the instructions on the medicine you’re meant to give to your child or write a note to their teacher explaining why they aren’t at school.
… not being able to read if your name is on the roster at work, or what day you need to come or write down a message to pass onto a colleague.
… not being able to read a recipe to make a new meal for your family or write down your shopping list.
… not being able to read the bank balance on your account, or the number on the bus you’re running to catch, or count the change you’ve just been given by the cashier.
… needing to ask your primary school aged child to fill in a form for you or read aloud their report card.
Imagine how difficult and embarrassing life could be if all the letters and numbers we see around us were a confusing mystery.
This is the reality for the large number of adults with little or no literacy and numeracy in Papua New Guinea. The reasons why these adults missed out on school are many, varied and complex: not enough money to pay for school fees, long distances to walk to school, tribal warfare, death or illness of parents, poor eye sight, needing to care for younger siblings and parents not understanding the benefits of education.
Being literate and numerate, to understand what letters and numbers are saying to us and being able to use them, is about so much more than simply being able to read a book. Learning to read and write can be life changing. And the over 2000 Learners at Anglicare PNG’s more than 70 Adult Literacy schools can testify to this fact. Here are just 3 stories from the students in Level 4 in 2017:
|Level 4 Adult Literacy class marching at Independence Day celebrations.|
“My aim is to become a Plumber in my future career”
– Inton Kimson, Lv 4 Learner, Port Moresby
Ongoing tribal warfare meant Inton Kimson had an interrupted schooling which ended at Gr 3. After marrying and having a daughter, his desire to complete his education grew but he was unsure which school would take a man in his 30s. Introduced to Anglicare by a cousin, Inton, now uses his experience to encourage his friends in his village to enrol in the Anglicare Adult Literacy School that has recently opened there, saying “I would be an example to them, to influence them to get educated”. He also shares his new knowledge with his wife and daughter, “I would also teach my daughter who is in grade 3 and my wife about what I learnt at Anglicare Adult Literacy”.
“I was so impressed and thank God that I now have
an opportunity to further my education”
– Michelle Tarang, Lv 4 Learner, Port Moresby
Michelle Tarang found the physical challenge of walking the long distance between her village and the nearest school too difficult as a young girl. Money was also a problem so there was little encouragement for her to persist. Introduced to Anglicare Adult Literacy School by a church friend, Michelle now hopes to “continue my education by doing Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) study and complete it and apply for a tertiary institution to gain employment skill and work”. Ultimately, Michelle dreams of running her own business.
Anglicare’s Adult Literacy Program also caters for those students whose education was disrupted during later primary or secondary school. While these students may know the basics of literacy and numeracy, it is not sufficient for them to continue their studies in the formal education institutions.
“I also have a desire to further my studies
overseas after completing university”
– Daniel Daniels, Lv 4, Learner, Port Moresby
Daniel Daniels left school at Gr 9, after his mother died and because there wasn’t enough money for school fees. Unable to continue at school without his Gr 10 certificate, Daniel’s dream of completing university and becoming a scientist seemed impossible. This changed when his Aunty enrolled him into Level 4 at Anglicare. After completely Level 4, Daniel will be able to enrol in formal education again, “I plan to pursue my education through secondary school by doing grade 11 and 12 and then off to university”.
While the students are learning to read and write in Tok Pison and English, Anglicare PNG takes advantage of its broad range of programs to educate the Leaners in other areas of great importance: from personal and community hygiene sessions with the Anglicare Water and Sanitation Health (WASH) team, to learning about gender awareness and how to prevent and respond to domestic violence with Anglicare’s Gender Officer (pictured, talking with Lv 1 Learners). This means that students are able to put their new skills to good use learning and sharing about these other social issues that will improve their families and communities.
Lastly, Anglicare runs life-skills trainings to complete the students learning. Drawing on resources from within the Anglican Church, students learn improved baking and cooking skills. Mother Grace Meakoro (pictured left), the wife of a retired Anglican Priest, and member of the Mothers’ Union, shares her years of cooking experience with the male and female students. Some will take the new recipes and skills back into their homes but others will use them to start small businesses or to gain employment in the hospitality area.
While it is not possible for the Adult Literacy School to teach these Learners everything, what they do learn enables them to reengage with the formal education system, to gain employment, or simply to do those things which we take for granted every day of our lives.
Your support for this program makes this life changing gift possible. The demand for the Anglicare Adult Literacy Schools is growing and ABM are committed to supporting Anglicare to both improve the quality of the program and to expand it. We need your ongoing commitment to ensure this happens so please donate generously to the PNG Adult Literacy project so that the lives of people in PNG are transformed through education.