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Issue #1563      5 September 2012

“Yes, I Can”

Six adults graduated on August 31 from a revolutionary new Indigenous literacy program in Wilcannia, NSW. The first ten students in the project graduated in May this year.

The pilot program, based on a revolutionary Cuban education method called “Yes I Can”, has been highly successful in countries such as Nicaragua, East Timor and the Dominican Republic.

It is now run in almost 30 countries and is reported to have taught nearly six million people to read and write.

Jack Beetson from the Wilcannia Aboriginal Land Council is the Aboriginal Adult Literacy Campaign Project Leader.

He says the program is having life-changing results.

“I consider literacy is probably the most key human right that any person can have and for people to be denied that right to become literate is a terrible situation, in fact it’s an abuse of people’s very basic human rights.

“Short of restoring the sight of a blind person, literacy is about the next best thing you can do for somebody,” he said.

After the successful trial of the program in Wilcannia, Mr Beetson would like to see “Yes, I Can” rolled out across the country.

“For us, this program is very important,” the Cuban Ambassador to Australia, Pedro Monzon, said.

“It’s important to give our help to the Aboriginal communities and we began with Wilcannia.

“For us, this program is a way of helping people, an obligation we have with society and with human beings, and at the same time it’s an opportunity to learn.”  

Next article – Protest at Northam Immigration Detention Centre

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