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Digicel , Ministry of Education push reading on International Literacy Day

A Digicel staff member joins students of St. Cuthbert's Mission Nursery School in reading on International Literacy Day 2016.

A Digicel staff member joins students of St. Cuthbert’s Mission Nursery School in reading on International Literacy Day 2016.

Digicel (Guyana) on Thursday – International Literacy Day 2016- helped to reinforce the importance of reading by providing assistance to the St. Cuthbert’s Mission Nursery School, Mahaica River.

“Today we are spending some time with these little ones to show them the importance of reading. The staff members are here today to give back to the community by interacting with the students and what a better day to do this than on International Literacy day. Digicel supports the notion of promoting literacy since it is as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies”  said the phone company’s spokeswoman, Vidya Sanichara.

St. Cuthbert’s Mission can also be accessed from the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.

This year, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) celebrated the day with the theme “Reading the Past, Writing the Future,” honouring 50 years of the observance of International Literacy Day and continuing its work to raise literacy rates around the world.

Digicel staff members with teachers and students of St. Cuthbert's Mission after they were presented with books and items by the company in observance of International Literacy Day 2016.

Digicel staff members with teachers and students of St. Cuthbert’s Mission after they were presented with books and items by the company in observance of International Literacy Day 2016.

Digicel’s staff members participated chose that school engage in book reading and storytelling to coincide with Indigenous Heritage Month. “Digicel used this opportunity to donate a quantity of books, back to school items and back packs to the students and teachers during their visit,” the phone company said in a statement.

Digicel (Guyana) says it plans to visit several other Indigenous Communities during September to make similar donations. Sanichara mentioned that since Digicel is the network of choice in most of the Indigenous communities in Guyana it is only fitting that they visit these areas to give back to their subscribers.

Acting Headmistress Helen Kattow expressed her gratitude by noting that “Digicel always comes to visit and spend some time with us and they always give. We are grateful as always, the children get very excited when they see the Digicel bus coming into the village. Thank you so much Digicel”.

Also present at the event was Lenox Shuman, Toshao of the Mission. He expressed a similar appreciation to Digicel for “coming and supporting literacy in our community which is a vital element in the way we progress. We appreciate initiatives like this; it shows a different degree of Corporate Responsibility which is welcomed in our community. The more corporations that do this, the better off we will be”.

Fifty years ago, UNESCO officially proclaimed September 8 International Literacy Day.Today this day is celebrated worldwide; bringing together private sectors, communities, teachers,students, learners, non governmental organisations, and governments to actively mobilize and promote literacy.

Meanwhile, in observance, the Ministry of Education today, staged a Literacy Extravaganza at its 21 Brickdam, Stabroek, location.

The event presented the Ministry officials, teachers, students and other stakeholders the opportunity to promote literacy, by reading out loud chapters and excerpts of their favourite or inspirational literature, writing and or books.

Students browsing the free books that were available at the literacy tent (GINA photo)

Students browsing the free books that were available at the literacy tent (GINA photo)

The over two-hour long session saw participation from the Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, who read the prologue to Guyana’s David Dabydeen’s novel, ‘Johnson Dictionary,’ which journeys through 18th century London and Demerara in British Guiana, recounting experiences that might be dreamed or remembered.

Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry read from Felix Cortes’, ‘Living for Triumph: Climbing the Summit of Success’.

Minister Henry read two pages from Chapter 3 (Living with objectives,) of Cortes’ novel, which focused on the story of the struggle and triumphs of American educator Helen Keller, who overcame the adversity of being blind and deaf to become one of the 20th century’s leading humanitarian, as well as the co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Others readers at the event included Advisor to the Ministry of Education and Director of Culture, Vincent Alexander, Chief Education Officer (acting,) Marcel Hutson, Guyana Teachers’ Union Representative Jacklyn Douglas, Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE)Representative Collin Marks, Parent Teachers Association (PTA) Representative Robert Forrester, Principal Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Immanuel Bridgewater, and Community Liaison Officer Randolph Critchlow.

There were representatives from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian faiths; Amber Piaralall, Wazir Baksh, and Carwyn Holland Jnr., respectively, as well as writers; Petamber Persaud, Hazel Moses-Walrond and Mosafa Telford, and students, including pupils from the nursery, primary and secondary levels.

The event also featured a literacy tent, which showcased tips on how to raise the literacy levels of children. Free reading books were also distributed under this tent.

This year, UNESCO celebrated the day with the theme “Reading the Past, Writing the Future,” honouring 50 years of the observance of International Literacy Day and continuing its work to raise literacy rates around the world.

UNESCO in its International Literacy Day message noted that this is the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has for one of its goals “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.” One way this can be achieved, states the agenda, is attaining literacy and numeracy among all youth and a “substantial proportion of adults, both men and women.”