Tue | Oct 19, 2021

Reading programme seeks to address illiteracy in Milk River

Published:Monday | March 1, 2021 | 12:10 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer -
Sharon Allen. a volunteer, teaches students in the Farquhar area. A reading initiatitive has been launched in the community to address the problem of illiteracy.
Sharon Allen. a volunteer, teaches students in the Farquhar area. A reading initiatitive has been launched in the community to address the problem of illiteracy.

A Reading For Survival initiative has started in the Farquhar and nearby communities in Milk River to tackle the problem of illiteracy.

Debby Donaldson, who implemented the programme three weeks ago through her foundation Little Deeds of Kindness, in association with the Clarendon Seventh-day Adventist community services, shared with The Gleaner that she first became aware of the issue while serving as chairperson on a school board in the community.

“I had some concerns about the literacy level, especially in the Farquhar area. A survey was done and I realised that about 90 percent of adults and children are not able to read,” she said.

Donaldson decided it was time a ‘village’ was created to make a difference in the communities, as, she said, if children are the future, then that future would be bleak if everything is not done to improve their chances to make an impact.

EMPOWER MINDS

“We believe that our children are a heritage from the Lord and as such, the young minds should be empowered. We also believe that when individuals learn to read, they are better able to make informed decisions, and the incidence of crime and poverty will be reduced. We also need small chairs and a proper structure for them along with refreshment, because parents find it difficult to sustain them adequately” she points out.

Donaldson is also making the appeal to the community members where she is pushing the reading programme, to come on board and assist with the teaching.

“Retired teachers, those who have a knack for it and are patient, we welcome the input,” Donaldson said.

Commenting on the impact of the initiative, she said a lot of adults confessed to her how much it has been a big help to them, especially with the children, as they sometimes feel out of their elements with the online classes.

However, with the shutting down of face-to-face classes, Donaldson said she will now have to reduce some of the numbers she hosts beside a small shop near the beach, but there is definitely no giving up on the initiative.