In six short months, the adult literacy program has evolved from a simple request from a group of women at Nan Mango to an active program serving nine communities. The partnership contracted with Fonkoze, a Haitian organization with over twenty years of experience in adult education, to train selected community leaders as adult educators and provide educational materials and support service for the adult educators.
There are now adult literacy classes taking place in Anse-a-Galets, Brois Brule, Lotore, Nouvelle Cite, Gros Mangles, Nan Mango, Trou Jacques, Platon Balai, and Plaine Mapou.
We visited classes in Nan Mango and Anse-a-Galets and were touched by the enthusiasm of the instructors and the adult students, men and women. While in Lotore for a goat clinic, we watched women converge on the school for their adult literacy class. We asked several about the class and they expressed gratitude for the chance to learn to read and write.
The most poignant moment of the week was discovering that one of the cooks at St. Francis, Exillien, was carrying her workbook around and practicing her writing whenever she had a chance. She was proud to show us that she had learned to write her name.
We have funded this program for a year, convinced that literacy is the basis of economic development, improved public health and participation in voting. Over 100 people are currently in class gaining functional literacy skills. The next phase of literacy training will prepare participants for economic development programs. As always, further steps depend on funding.