I raise my hand in support of the theme for the 2018 Reading Month celebrations in Saint Lucia: “Collaborating to Close the Literacy Gap – Read for Change”.
The word ‘collaborating’ is central to the theme. It brings emphasis to the thoughts espoused for a number of years drawn from a traditional African proverb that says: “It takes a village to raise a child”. Obviously, the village produces the partnership required at the various developmental stages of a child. The same is true of any endeavor a village undertakes.
Secondly, this theme brings to mind the concept of a “SYSTEM”. A system refers to any entity that has parts which contribute to a central, unitary purpose. Given this definition, it can be said that arriving at a state of literacy requires multiple contributions from multiple contributors. Therefore, since literacy requires the ability to read; to spell; to write; to listen; and to speak, one can say that literacy is a “system” and that collaborating is a system of actions to arrive at that objective.
We live in a fast-paced, rapidly changing, mind-boggling, pressure-producing world that can impact our young people in so many different ways. Hence, this realization makes a case for a unified approach to the building of a literate society. The theme is, in itself, a realization that many hands and hearts must come on board to deal with the desire to have a literate society. The state, the community, the economic sector, the home, the school and of course each individual must play a part in getting rid of the scourge of illiteracy.
I believe that I can advance the claim that the St. Lucia Writers Forum has been and will continue to be supportive of the call and the efforts made to build a literate society. The work we do implies that if a person does not possess the essential components of literacy, he or she will be unable to participate fully in the activities of the Forum. Therefore, we feel obligated to be in support of the efforts made to develop the reading skills of our populace. As the forum seeks to strengthen collaboration, we intend to organize and execute a walk for literacy later this year.
Collaborating takes effort on everyone’s part. It is not easy to bypass the differences of opinions and status but persons have agreed to make a conscious effort to work together. So we trust that all who are in a position to contribute will unite to raise the level of literacy in Saint Lucia. Obviously, our youth who have the greatest stake in this campaign, must play their part. The theme calls on them to: “Read for change.” That change does not refer solely to moving from a state of illiteracy to literacy but it also speaks of the gains of development that come with positive change. Read for change and development as it is imperative.
Claudius ‘Peto’ Francis
St. Lucia Writers Forum