Readings Foundation Update: Olympic Adult Education

This week we’re featuring updates from the community organisations and projects that the Readings Foundation supported in 2009.

Today we’re hearing from Robin Tymms of the Olympic Adult Education, which received a $12,995 grant to run english reading and writing classes at Rosanna Library.

The two classes at Rosanna library funded by The Readings Foundation provide a wonderful and well-deserved gift to a group of older aged long-term migrants who have been at the coalface of the development of this country. These students arrived in Australia and immediately joined the unskilled workforce. They never had the opportunity to learn to read and write. Now in their twilight years they are able to address this problem, which has been quite debilitating for them.

At the start of the year students identified their short and long term learning goals. They then discussed how to achieve these goals by maximizing learning opportunities and minimizing barriers that inhibit their learning.

Already so many benefits are becoming apparent. Small things that we take for granted are important new skills for these students such as being able to read little story books with their grandchildren that they could not read with their own children. Students can now understand a little of the mail that comes in their letter boxes and read medical instructions on prescriptions. They are more empowered as they can recognize letters and words in information given by doctors, Centrelink et cetera.

Equally as important as the improved reading and writing skills is the social contact with other students. They value each other’s support through difficult times in their lives and look forward to meeting once a week in a local and supportive class situation, which is not academically stressful.