[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Tomorrow, Saturday September 8, is International Literacy Day. More than 80% of South Africa’s Grade 4s cannot read, this limits their opportunities for later employment and their own enjoyment.  This is true for many the homeless who join our final Life Change program.

U-turn address this in a number of ways. We use groundbreaking  technology, namely Units of Sound, invented in the UK for teaching Dyslexic children to read. More on this to come!

However, beyond technology and possibly with the greatest impact, is Jane Wood is our remedial teacher and a long-time volunteer with U-turn who has formed a deep bond with many of our Life Change champions struggling to read and write, and helped them to bridge the gap to employment and further studies.

Here she recounts some of her experiences…

Jane’s story

Jane celebrating the graduation of one her most remarkable students, Amanda.

Never in my dreams, would I have imagined, that after retiring from 40 years of remedial teaching, I would be teaching a small group of U-turn ‘champs’, to read and write. But that is what I am doing and I love every minute of it!

For many and varied reasons these special men and women have missed out on these basic skills, that you and I take for granted.  Some have never had the opportunity to even go to school.  Most have dropped out during the early foundation years.  But there is a quote which says, “It’s never too late to learn.”  This little Wednesday group have proved this to be true. Each week, we talk, play games, read aloud, fill out imaginary job applications, colour in reward charts and have lots of fun.

I should really write a book on my experiences!  One student really struggled with the phonetical pronunciation of a, e, i, o, and u.  I gave him letters and pictures to match.  At first he just shrugged his shoulders.  Then in a light bulb moment, he picked up the picture of the ambulance.  “I know this one, – embulance!”  – “e!”  On another occasion, a ‘champ’ filled out a job application form.  It asked, “How much do you want to earn?”  She wrote R20,000 pm then promptly rubbed it out and wrote R50,000 pm.  “That’s not asking too much is it Jane?

My most recent funny incident, was a ‘champ’ coming in with books in his bag from the library.  I was so impressed at his enthusiasm until I saw that he had filled in the words that he could read and write.  I had to point out that these books were for reading and not for him to write in!

Never take for granted your ability to read, write and comprehend.  For many it is an unknown world but with time and effort, it can open up avenues of opportunity, wonders and miracles.

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” – Victor Hugo

Just Jane – U-turn volunteer

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