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Vanuatu:Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Chapius Literacy Class, Vanuatu. © ABM/Isabel Robinson, 2014.

Gracetella Smith (left) with students and teacher Woka
Keith (second right). © Jessica Sexton/ABM, 2015.

Community Development project


This is part of the Community Development Program: Learn more about ABM’s Programs here



Many adults and teenagers in Vanuatu missed out on formal schooling or had their schooling cut short due to family, health or financial reasons, so the opportunity to learn to read and write is highly valued.

Through the Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) program, volunteer teachers from within the local community are trained in the skill of basic literacy education and equipped with materials such as pens, exercise books and blackboards in order to hold weekly classes with local students.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia, with support from ABM, continues to strengthen the LLN Program throughout the two dioceses of Vanuatu. The Literacy Coordinators, Mrs Gracetella Smith and Miss Sheila George, are passionate about extending Literacy education to every community in the region, supporting the vital work of the volunteer teachers.

The classes are open to any members of the community but it is often women who attend due to higher rates of illiteracy among females in Melanesia. It is well known that the education level of a parent will impact strongly on their children, and many adult learners in Vanuatu envision a brighter future for their children than what they themselves have experienced.

Learning how to read and write is a step on the road to education. Many who have gone through the program have now moved on to further studies, such as Rural Training Colleges and Technical Institutions in Port Vila. As the literacy students tell ABM – if you can read, you can also learn more about the world from signs, books and newspapers.

The Vanuatu Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program is an exciting opportunity to bring real change to the lives of rural people, especially women, in Vanuatu and ABM is proud to support the Anglican Church of Melanesia as it reaches out to communities.

Your support of this project will assist ABM to provide training workshops for literacy teachers, basic materials like pens, pencils, chalk, exercise books and blackboards, as well as the ability for Gracetella and Sheila to travel to rural areas to hold teacher training workshops.

VU006EA needs $22,000 in 2016 (tax-deductible)

This project receives partial funding from the Australian Government. This project receives partial funding from the Australian Government.



You can make an online donation to this project by selecting Vanuatu: Language, Literacy & Numeracy from the full project list.

Alternatively, for donations by cheque/money order (made out to the Anglican Board of Mission – Australia), telephone or email, view contact details here. Please don’t forget to include the project name and/or code with your payment details.

Gifts to ABM will be applied to the support of project(s) selected. In the unlikely event of the project being oversubscribed or not proceeding to completion, donations will be applied to a similar project to the one(s) selected.



September 2016 – Ray Raymond was once a literacy student from the small island of Vanua Lava. Now he is a qualified carpenter, and a trained literacy teacher who is helping others to gain these valuable skills. Read more.


Gracetella Smith, Literacy Coordinator.  ©ABM/Jess Sexton 2015
Gracetella Smith, Literacy Coordinator.
 ©ABM/Jess Sexton 2015


June 2015 – Gracetella Smith has worked as the Literacy Coordinator for the Diocese of Banks and Torres since 2010. In that time, she has established 18 classes throughout Vanua Lava, Gaua, Mota and Mota Lava. Having learnt literacy early in her life, Gracetella saw that she had a lot to offer those who weren’t so fortunate. After attending a Leadership workshop in 1997, Gracetella decided to run a leadership program with thirty local chiefs in West Vanua Lava. This lead to her consider literacy work full time, and after being approached by the Diocesan Secretary with the offer of a position, took up the post as Literacy Coordinator with the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Vanuatu.

Her role includes raising awareness about the need for literacy amongst remote communities in the Banks and Torres, the establishment of Literacy Committees, the training and support of teachers, and fund raising for the continuation of the program. 

Read more about the literacy program in Kayemback village.