Espoir 80

Year Published:  1980  
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX1044
Inactive/Defunct Organization
Abstract:  In Quebec there are 20,000 Haitian immigrants, 4,000 of whom can only speak Creole and are illiterate. In Montreal there is a unique project creating a second chance learning opportunity for many people. Jocelyn Gabriel has previously run literacy projects in her native country, Haiti. In Montreal, with assistance from Frontier College she has started a program that employs six full time tutors.

At the outset those who needed help in learning to read and write were reluctant to step forward. Using door to door personal approaches, advertising, community radio, and word of mouth within the Haitian community, a large number of students came forward to begin learning to read and write.

The learners were relieved to find the program did not operate like a traditional school. The learning groups were small and the tutors, like the learners, were Haitian immigrants. Having gone through the rather traumatic (and bureaucratic) financial, personal and family difficulties of moving to a new country, the tutors were able to generate much of the content from their shared experience.

Content such as how to find employment, the differing social norms encountered and the family difficulties resulting from such a move provide the basis for powerful and meaningful classes for the learners. They are learning to read and reading, learning to write by writing. In the process they are dealing with very real problems they encounter day to day.

This organization no longer exists.
This abstract was published in the Connexions Digest in 1980.

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