Author: Natalie D. A. Bennett, Contributor
Title: "Confront the anti-literacy culture - Part 1"
Source: Jamaica Gleaner
Date published: Sunday, October 3, 2010
The author relates her activism and project in transforming Jamaican urban public spaces into centres for the promotion of literacy in Jamaican children.
Whether we realise it or not, making illiteracy a thing of the past will require far more than big speeches and grand declarations about the importance of knowing how to read. It will take work. The question is: are we ready to do what is necessary?
In August of this year, I created a project called 'Labour of Love' in Kingston and Montego Bay. Part street performance and part activism, I wanted to see what would happen if love - not charity, shame, punishment, guilt, obligation - were the driving force for engaging in intentional, and hopefully, transformative social action in Jamaica's public spaces. In ten days, I did a variety of activities: made sidewalk art, crafted wills, distributed reading material, gave away vegetable seeds, and did bra fittings. And for half of that time, I worked with school-aged children on the sidewalks of downtown Kingston. Armed with rubber-stamps, crayons, pencils, markers, word and math games, and a plethora of worksheets, I tried to tailor each child's activities to his/her abilities and interests. Age was not a useful predictor of any ability, as I discovered. A 'class' of five children quickly grew to a 'school' of over 20 by the end of the week