“Anna is the eldest of the three children in the Pakoa family who live around the airport area. Anna Pakoa is a 14-year girl who acts as a mother at home because of a family separation. She didn’t think she would ever be able to read and write in her life like her brothers. As she thought more about this and the fact that she was growing older than pre-school age to be able to enrol in a pre-school, she sometimes shed tears. Her dream was to be like her two brothers who are at school learning to read and write. One day she heard of a literacy class at her area being opened for people like herself to learn to read and write.

“With this dream in her heart she went to find out from Leimas Billy (the literacy Trainer) about the classes. Leimas enrolled her in her class; and now every day she learns to read and write. She now can write and read a little.”

Anna wrote this story with some help from World Vision staff. Anna’s story is just one of many stories that have touched the hearts of the World Vision Vanuatu staff since the start of their literacy and numeracy program in May 2006.

Funded through the TVET Sector Strengthening Program’s Access Fund, World Vision Vanuatu aims to train 600 literacy and numeracy trainers throughout Vanuatu in all six provinces. These trainers will then conduct their own literacy and numeracy classes helping to improve the level of literacy and numeracy. Tafea and Shefa Provinces have been targeted in 2006 with Torba, Sanma, Malampa and Penama to receive training in 2007. By October 2006 a total of 76 Literacy and Numeracy trainers were trained and 678 trainees had commenced courses.

World Vision is no stranger to literacy and numeracy programs in Vanuatu. The organisation has been doing literacy programs in the rural communities for some years now and has developed its own literacy workbooks (1,2,3) and numeracy books (1 and 2) as well as a teachers’ handbook. These books have been edited and reprinted for new literacy programs.

Stories like Anna’s are becoming more common as the work of the World Vision literacy and numeracy training continues to make a difference in people’s lives. Some of these stories along with local tales told by the participants in the literacy classes have been compiled and printed and these books are used as extra reading materials in the classes.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the literacy and numeracy training and classes can contact David Tovovur or Simon Boe at World Vision Vanuatu. Both can be reached on 22161.

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