Southern Sudan: Leaders urge community members to join literacy classes
08 September 2009

"I urge all men and women who cannot write, read or calculate to join literacy classes today rather than tomorrow because it will improve your standard of living."
Nimule, 8 September 2009 — On September 8, 2009, JRS celebrated World Literacy Day with over 350 men and women in Pageri Payam, about 24 miles from Nimule, Southern Sudan. 

"I urge all men and women who cannot write, read or calculate to join literacy classes today rather than tomorrow because it will improve your standard of living," said Dario Yona, executive chief of Pageri Payam at the ceremony which was meant to raise awareness about the importance of adult literacy among the local community.

The celebration was attended by various stakeholders, such as the payam administrator, the education officer, the supervisor for special education needs, the boma chief, police and army officers, religious leaders and women groups.

The local police officer called upon all men to not prevent their wives from attending literacy classes. "They are the first teachers for your children, if they are not educated how do you expect our lives, our homes and our environment to improve?" he asked.

"Adult literacy may not lead to historical changes, but it is an essential tool to bring about social changes," said JRS functional adult literacy (FAL) coordinator Gama Clement Quintino. “The more literate adults become, the greater the improvement of their standard of living,” he added.

Learning changes lives

Most of the people who live in Pageri Payam are returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). JRS runs seven Functional Adult Literacy Centres in Pageri for 205 female and 110 male students.

Rebecca Flex, one of the literacy students, said the classes have brought about a big change in her life. "Before I joined this programme I could neither read nor write. Now I am able to do both and I am proud of that."

After the speeches, celebrations continued with traditional dances, drama, songs and poems in an atmosphere of general happiness. At the end of the day representatives of the community thanked JRS for organising the event and for promoting adult literacy throughout their payam. Finally, they called upon the organisation to continue their programme so that more lives can improve in Southern Sudan.







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