FOR an illiterate person, the world of reading and writing is something which he or she will never experience.
Many in this category accepted the fact that they can’t read or write and so refuse to participate in activities involving reading or writing.
They can only dream of the many opportunities out there which they can explore if they know how to read and write.
However, for some this dream is becoming a reality especially for those attending adult literacy classes offered by certain organisations within the country.
One organisation giving the illiterate this opportunity is the National Women group within the South Seas Evangelical Church.
Last week the group provided literacy training for more than 30 men and women from Gwaiako, Faubora, Laugwata and Buiano villages in West Kwara’ae.
The training was held at Buiano Village.
These men and women put aside their daily village activities to learn the basics of modern language.
A participant at the training Matthias Maelafua said the literacy training has opened his mind to a whole new world.
“I learn the basic word pronunciation and alphabet sounds,” an excited Mr Maelafua said.
“By pronouncing words and sounds I can spell a word.”
Fortunately for Mr Maelafua, he used to attend the early primary school classes at an early age.
“Most of the things we learn from the literacy training are advance than what I learn at primary school.
“This training boost my knowledge and ability to read, view, design speak, listen and communicate effectively.
“This is a big difference compared to when I was in primary education,” Mr Maelafua said.
He said this opportunity provided by the SSEC National Women’s Office in Honiara should also be offered to other communities within Malaita Province.
“I learn so much from this simple literacy training.
“I believe such training should continue to other communities to give illiterate men and women a chance to learn reading and writing,” he said.
He then thanked organisers for recognising the literacy challenges faced by many in the village communities.
“This training will not only benefit participants but our entire families and communities which we represent,” Mr Maelafua said.
Meanwhile, SSEC National Women coordinator Leah Cathy Keni told Solomon Star that the power of literacy lies not just in the ability to read and write but also in a person’s capacity to apply these skills to effectively connect, interpret and discern the intricacies of the world in which they live.
Ms Keni said adult education is necessary because it is a powerful and vital incentive to primary education.
“When adults are uneducated, some people exploit them, cheat them or even take away their properties by despising them,” she said.
“When adults are educated they live a respectable, honourable and dignified life.
“They stand on their own feet without depending on anyone.
“They will lead an independent life.”
She said in a recent literacy report, 76 per cent of the Solomon Islands population are illiterate and only 24 per cent are literate.
She said this is an indication that the illiterate population is higher than the literate population within our country.
Therefore, she said the literacy training offered by the National Women Office is to educate the illiterate and uplift them so that they can freely participate in public and community discussions or decision making.
“Many who are illiterate are victims of shyness and shame when participating in public activities.
“Our office is committed to reduce such human experience by organising this literacy training for the communities here,” Ms Keni told participants at the Buiano Village training.
She said similar trainings have already been offered to many communities within Malaita Province.
She said it is the SSEC National Women’s aim to ensure literacy training reached all the illiterate people across the country.
She then thanked participants attending the Buiano Village Literacy Training for their commitment and participating during the week long programme.
By SOLOMON LOFANA