I have always loved to read.  I buried myself in books as a child and, as an adult, have kept a list of every book I have read since I was 22 years old.  I take it for granted that I will always have a book at my side.  I took it for granted that I would have an endless supply of books to ready to my children.

If I lived on the island of LaGonave, chances are I would not be able to read.  My children , I hope, would be in school but I would not  be able to help them with schoolwork or read to them.  Literacy and books are not taken for granted in Haiti.

This is changing.  The LaGonave Haiti Partnership launched an adult literacy program in ten communities a little over a year ago.  The classes are taught by community leaders who were trained  in an intensive preparatory program and were closely supervised during their first teaching sessions.    The pilot program was a huge success and the literacy program is off and running.  For a cost of $8,000 a year, we can offer literacy classes for all ten communities all year long and that is our goal.

When I was in Haiti earlier this month, I was able to purchase 200 children’s Kreyol story books from Starfysh, an organization partnered with the community of Madakochon in LaGonave.  We are giving each of our graduates of the pilot literacy program a storybook so that they can read to their children or grandchildren.  For nearly all, this will be the first book they have ever owned.

One day, I hope that everyone on LaGonave will take literacy and reading to their children for granted.

Lee Wilder

For the Partnership

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