Literacy Story

Rose Hagayo is from Eastern Highlands. A nurse by profession she started her literacy class in Morata with 4 women under a mango tree in 2006. The women wanted to attend literacy class conducted by a church nearby but were too embarrassed to attend so they asked Rose for help. The women were sick and knowing Rose as a nurse asked for medicine as well.

Rose bought medicine and held informal health talks with the women. News of my meeting with the women spread very fast. Her second time of meeting was attended by a big number of men and women who wanted to learn to read and write and learn about health issues. The desire for learning to read and write was so great that Rose decided to use her free time to hold classes.

Rose’s employers understood what she was doing supported in giving health talks and supplying medication to the sick people at the settlement. She also used medical doctors to her literacy class to talk about hearth diseases, HIV/AIDS, good nutrition, family planning and a private accountant to talk about budgeting and financial management.

Her literacy class grew from 4 to 70. Unfortunately some left due to various reasons that reduced the number to 57. Her first literacy class graduation was in 2007 where 15 students passed out with the ability to read and write. The skills and knowledge were in parted into the learners from the Kisim Save Booklet with modules 1 to 5 which she bought from the Christian Book Shop. Her program has extended to Kipo settlement at East Boroko in Port Moresby with 80 students. In sustaining the program, students are asked to come with 50 toea to support the teachers. It’s frustrating when dealing with adults. But Rose sympathized with the people’s desire in wanting to learn to gain knowledge, use her knowledge, skills and resources to help others.

Many men have appreciated their wives for attending Rose’s literacy classes as the program has taught them skills and knowledge on sanctions, clean homes, nutrition and a better and happy family life.

This is a community service Rose is doing for free of charge for a better community. Grassroots initiatives like this must be supported by government as we are working towards having a better literate nation Papua New Guinea.