The Institution of Statistics of the United Nations’ Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) estimated the number of adults in The Bahamas over the age of 15 who were unable to read and write to be over 10,000. It is believed that present day figures are higher. Insufficient attention to the weaknesses displayed by many students in both primary and secondary schools has given rise to an increase in the number of adults whose literacy and numeracy skills hold them back from maximizing their potential limiting their opportunities for social and economic advancement.
Project Read, established in 1991, by the Rotary Club of East Nassau has been in existence for most of the present decade and has assisted thousands of Bahamians. Project Read brings together persons wishing to improve their reading skills with voluntary literacy tutors whose work is to help improve the lives of many who struggle with inadequate literacy skills so that they may progress in their jobs, read to their children, follow a newspaper article or simply enjoy a novel. Students learn practical lessons that give them the confidence and skills, helping them to excel. Once paired with a tutor, lessons are held privately, one-on-one, in a place of the tutor’s and clients’ mutual agreement. Classes progress at the client’s pace without pressure to perform and all materials are provided free of charge.
In order to defray the cost to the public, Project Read relies entirely on donations from corporations, from community members, and in the form of provisional government assistance. Recently, Doctors Hospital continued its commitment to the Bahamian Community with a check presentation to the Project Read organization, to assist with the work that they do each day.
“I think people would be shocked at the number of people who have graduated from high school, lived here all their lives, and are still functioning at a basic level”, said Project Read Administrator, Arthurlue Rahming upon accepting the check.
“Literacy affects every aspect of a person’s life, and so improving literacy skills will not only enrich the quality of a person’s life but also affect their ability to function adequately in society. Ninety percent (90%) of persons seeking our assistance leave the program knowing how to read.”
Some of the problems created by the inability to read are feelings of embarrassment and inferiority. Most persons consider themselves inadequate if they cannot read and refuse to admit to friends or family that they need assistance.
Literacy is often well-hidden, but to someone who cannot read, their inability to make sense of written directions or street signs, a child’s homework or report card, paperwork at the office or more distressingly, prescriptions and medicinal instructions can keep one in a dark and frightening place without the means to improve their quality of life or the ability to function effectively in the community.
The Project Read Committee and tutors are very sensitive to this need for confidentiality and treat all clients with respect and compassion. If you would like to volunteer or know someone who wants to learn to read or improve their reading skills, please contact Project Read at 394-2426 or visit the website at www.projectreadbahamas.com. All inquiries are very confidential.
Source: Doctors Hospital