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It's never too late to learn

By Namhla Tshisela | Nov 27, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

AT the age of 37 Kevin Gibbs's dream is to be able to read a newspaper and a James Bond novel.

AT the age of 37 Kevin Gibbs's dream is to be able to read a newspaper and a James Bond novel.

"I am trying very hard. I can read short words like 'stop' and 'slow' but with enough practise I will be perfect," Gibbs says.

It has taken Gibbs "many years" to read short words because he was dismissed at various schools as someone who would never learn to read and write.

"I struggled at several schools because I couldn't learn to read. My mind would just go blank," Gibbs says.

Not being able to read or write made it difficult for Gibbs to get by with seemingly routine tasks such as reading directions and street signs.

"It was frustrating. I would be forced to memorise things such as directions to avoid getting lost."

Through Read for Africa's learnership programmes Gibbs has acquired the reading and writing skills of a Grade 1 pupil.

With patience he believes he will learn enough to qualify as an electrician.

Gibbs was one of 20 pupils who graduated from an adult education and training programme run by Read for Africa at the Advancement Through Independent and Motivation (Aim) Centre in Kensington, Johannesburg, last week.

Gibbs' fianceé, Caroline Mignolet, to whom he has been engaged for 16 years, also graduated with abusiness administration certificate.

The couple said they were happy to have graduated on the same day but were not in a hurry to get married because "it complicates things".

The graduates obtained various qualifications of the learning programmes. The programme has been running for nine years and helps people living with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Though the programmes focus on numeracy and literacy, they are also designed to help working adults in low-skilled jobs.

The World of Work (Wow) programme combines basic education with mathematical and communication skills such as filling in bank forms, budgeting and reading payslips, said Read for Africa trainer and therapist Jenny Taylor.

Anastacia Maoeng, 35, who graduated with a business administration certificate, said she was looking forward to working in an office and using her newly acquired computer skills.


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