Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope

On September 8, Alfalit was proud to virtually celebrate International Literacy Day, a commemoration established by UNESCO in 1966. 

Dear Alfalit family,

It is so hard to believe it is already October! On September 8, Alfalit was proud to virtually celebrate International Literacy Day, a commemoration established by UNESCO in 1966. Every year this occasion emphasizes the importance of literacy and reminds us of the need to create more literate societies. UNESCO states that today there are about 773 million adults and young adults who lack such skills.

Literacy is empowering to individuals because it opens doors for choices to improve one’s life. Effective literacy skills create employment and other educational opportunities that hoist our students out of poverty. They become employable, can gain better jobs, or manage their own businesses. Psychological benefits like self-esteem come with these new abilities and are almost immeasurable. Research shows that educated parents pass on the value of learning to their children, who do the same to their children. Eventually, the cycle of generational illiteracy is thwarted. Thus, literacy advances the future of society.

In keeping with our founders’ legacy, we are committed to bringing the opportunity to achieve literacy and numeracy to people worldwide. We support UNESCO’s goals for sustainable education. And you can, too. The next time you read something– a book, a social media post, prescription instructions, an employment application, a directional sign, a note, or even this article, please stop just for a moment. Take this time to thank God for the gift of this ability, and then remember the importance of reaching the 773 million who are denied this fundamental human right.

Yours with Alfalit,

Catherine F. Penrod

Executive Director

My name is Tannia Rodriguez. I am the learning and development specialist and Alfalit program director and teacher for Costa Farms. I have worked in the field of education for over 10 years as a teacher, reading specialist and assistant principal within the public school system in Miami-Dade and Broward. I have always believed that teaching consists of 70% vocation and 30% skill. It comes down to the heart and its desire to see others excel, grow, and achieve more than they ever could have imagined.

My journey has led me to this amazing opportunity to oversee the Alfalit program across all of Costa Farms operating units, not only in Miami but in the Carolinas and the Dominican Republic. I also teach over 100 Costa Farms employees each week. Our students come from various walks of life. Many of which have never had the privilege or access to a standard education in their home countries. They have faced numerous challenges due to their lack of literacy skills and have had to rely on their experiences to manage and strive to better their situations for themselves and their families. Some students have shared with me the difficulties they have completing basic day-to-day activities due to their inability to read and write. The Alfalit program gives the students hope for a better future.

My students have become my family and I am invested in them and their learning journeys as we strive to help them acquire language and critical thinking skills that will help them in their daily lives. It is my goal to provide them with the skills necessary for them to be able to seek and access personal and professional opportunities that without language or literacy skills may have been unimaginable. My students give me purpose and I am motivated to impact their lives as much as they do for me each day.

I wake up every day full of enthusiasm and drive to interact with such amazing human beings. I also work closely with a group of volunteers that share my same passion for helping others. It has been beautiful to collaborate and engage with them as they help build and implement the program at their respective locations. Sharing ideas, best practices, and experiences has helped unify us in an amazing way as we build trust within our team and our students as we continue to strive to give all our participants the best quality instruction. Partnering with the Alfalit program has helped over 400 of our employees in the past 8 years and I hope to continue this legacy of impacting lives through education for years to come. I am eternally grateful and blessed to be associated with such an amazing organization-Alfalit.

Best Regards,

Tannia Rodriguez

Learning and Development Specialist

Magret Dure Cosmas is one of 800 thousand men, women and children who have fled South Sudan due to the horrific situations and civil wars that have been going on throughout their country since 2011.

South Sudan faces challenges on many fronts, among the ongoing crisis in Darfur. Political conflict, compounded by economic woes and drought has caused massive displacement, raging violence and dire food shortages. Extreme famine rages throughout the country with over 40% of the population facing life- threatening hunger, malnutrition and starvation. Every day in the Sudan, people are faced with armed conflict and an on-going renewed wave of Covid-19.

When we spoke to Magret she shared with us how she, her husband with their 5 children were able to escape war-torn South Sudan and travel safely to the Rhino Refugee Camp in Uganda. She told us how grateful and thankful to God she is that she and her family are still alive. Every day, Magret and her family witnessed killings, rapes and some of the worst and most inhumane things she has ever seen.

Before the crisis escalated in South Sudan, Magret was attending Alflait International’s basic education and literacy programs there in her hometown of Yei. She says if it wasn’t for Alflait’s programs, where she learned to read and write, she would have never been able to understand the procedures and the instructions required during registration when she and her family arrived at the Rhino Refugee Camp in Uganda.

Upon arriving at the settlement camp, no one working there could speak their local language; all communications were in English. Fortunately for Magret, the classes she had been taking in Yei through Alfalit International were taught in English so she was able to give correct answers in English during the registration process.

Once she and her family were settled in the refugee camp, Magret begin to attend the church services being held there in the camp. She was able to enroll again in Alfalit’s educational programs that were being offered at the church she was attending. When the church members learned that she was able to speak English, they selected Magret to become a counselor to handle some of the domestic issues that people were facing in the camp. With the ability to read and write and speak English, Magret has also been able to get more involved with her children’s performance at school and become an active member of the schools PTA.

Magret accredits everything she is doing to the knowledge she acquired in the Alfalit classes she attended in South Sudan and the Alfalit classes she is now attending in the Rhino refugee camp. She says, “Alflait International taught me how to read and write, they have shaped my thinking capacity and I’m confident I can accomplish everything I want to do.”

Look in to the eyes of this child. What do you see? A little boy whose eyes are full of wonder. A little boy who wants the same opportunities as other children he has heard about. He wants to go to school. He wants to learn how to read. He wants to learn how to write. It is so important for a child to be able to pick up a book and be able to read that book. Books help a child’s imagination grow and their dreams begin to become reality.

One of the major causes of illiteracy is having parents who illiterate. When parents are illiterate, they usually do no give a lot of concern of their children’s education, therefore the illiteracy rate in the most underserved areas rises. Without the ability to get an education, this child will unfortunately live in poverty his entire life.

Look into his eyes again. There is HOPE. When you support the basic education and literacy programs of Alfalit International, you are the HOPE for every child that enrolls in our programs. You can give this little boy the opportunity of an education. Ninety-three cents of every dollar donated to Alfalit goes directly to our literacy programs. Be the ONE that forever breaks the cycle of poverty for all of the children that we serve. “Better to lose a book to a child, than to lose a child to illiteracy.” 

“Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes, and fill my heart”- Oprah Winfrey

Every day, in a class room, in 16 countries, there is an Alfalit teacher, working with Alfalit students ,teaching them to read. Reading a great book has the power to change your life…if you let it. It can lift your spirits, and help guide you. You’ll find it can give you the sense of belonging, as others have similar feelings. Books give the readers an opportunity to think about what was read, with no right or wrong way to interpret the written story. Once a child or an adult learns to read, they are empowered. They are no longer illiterate. Together we can break the cycle of illiteracy. What if you were not able to read? Think about it. Where would you be and what would you be doing?

“Literacy is the single most significant skill needed to function effectively in school, in the work place, and in society…it is vital to a successful education, career, and quality of life”.

What ae the disadvantages of illiteracy:

  • Limited ability to obtain and understand essential information
  • Unemployment: The unemployment rate is 2-4 times higher among those with little schooling than among those with a full education.
  • Lower income
  • Lower-quality jobs
  • Reduces access to lifelong learning and professional development
  • Precarious financial position

Illiteracy keeps people in a trapped cycle of poverty, limiting life choices and making it almost impossible to achieve social mobility.

Every single week, in 15 countries, there is an Alfalit International basic education and literacy class being taught by dedicated and committed teachers. Alfalit has educated over 8.5 million men, women and children! We are breaking the cycle of illiteracy and changing the quality of life for every man, woman and child enrolled in our programs. To God Be the Glory forever and ever! Amen- Galatians 1:5

Kamoa Copper is committed to improving the lives of Congolese nationals through its education initiatives in the DRC.

Kamoa Copper’s Community Relations Department, led by Leon Tshikuta, Senior Community Relations Superintendent, is committed to ensuring that its host communities have access to improved education, healthcare, and clean water. This commitment is reflected in the rollout of a new adult literacy programme in partnership with ALFACONGO.

ALFACONGO is a Congolese organisation affiliated to Alfalit International, an international Christian Organisation with experience in literacy programmes (non-formal education), early childhood development (ECD), health and disease prevention, food security and nutrition, community development, microfinance, and the production of educational materials. Alfalit is active in 15 countries across three continents, including Angola, Mozambique, South Sudan, and Guinea Bissau.

A zone supervisor with experience in literacy programmes, has been appointed to monitor and evaluate the progress of the project. A coordinator will manage the project on a day-to-day basis and will be responsible for the implementation of the project.”

Senior Relations Superintendent, Leon Tshikuta was proud to announce that “after running the ALFACONGO programme in Kamoa’s host communities with external trainers for several years, the first ‘train the trainer’ process took place at Kamoa in the beginning of July, with a selected group of facilitators chosen from the community who underwent three days of training, followed by an exam to earn their official facilitator certificate.” red. They are no longer illiterate. Together we can break the cycle of illiteracy. What if you were not able to read? Think about it. Where would you be and what would you be doing?

The next phase of the project will target 300 adults, aged between 15 to 60 years, with the intention to address the specific problem of illiteracy, identified as a principal cause of poverty. Apart from these direct beneficiaries, the project will target a total population estimated between 1,000 and 5,000 in the villages which surround Kamoa’s facilities” Mr Tshikuta added.

To accommodate a number of learners with ease of access to the programme, courses will be administered in more than 15 communities including Kamisange, Kamukulu, Kaponda, Mpala, Musokantanda, Walemba, Cite Maseka, Israel, Kalundu, Kavuma, Mulemena, Mususu, Mwilu and Samukoko. The Community Relations Department, community leaders and the facilitators will be actively engaged across communities to promote awareness of the literacy programme and related activities.

To ensure the sustainability of the project, reading clubs will be organised for the beneficiaries. ALFACONGO’s methodology enables each learner to teach others. Beneficiaries will learn how to create a small library in their homes to improve their reading skills. Information sharing with civil society partners and monitoring of project implementation by government officials in the project’s area of intervention will ensure ownership and contribute to sustainability.

By the end of the project, the beneficiaries will have been empowered to become leaders within their communities and will have gained the necessary skills to generate income. Knowing how to read, write, and perform the four basic mathematical operations, they will have the skills to manage their own businesses. Kamoa understands that knowledge unlocks new opportunities, and we are committed to creating sustainable legacies for future generations.

Lights! Camera! Action! CUT!!!!
Just as we were about to roll out the red carpet for this year’s 2021 Alflait International Hollywood Ball, we have had to “stop the production” due to the most current situation here in Miami with the covid pandemic.

With the recent increase in the Covid-19 Delta variant cases, we have decided that it was in the best interest of our friends and our family to postpone the gala to a later date. Once we are able to determine when we can reschedule the “Hollywood Ball”, we will send out new ‘Save the Date” information for the 2022 gala. 

We appreciate the sponsorship commitments that had already been made for this year’s gala and say thank you for allowing us to move those commitments to 2022.

Again, thank you for supporting the programs of Alfalit International. We are always grateful for your generosity, your continued friendship, and your support. We look forward to seeing you at our gala in 2022!

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