Background – January 2014.
A member of our church’s congregation, Dr Paul Henriques, laid the foundation for this project in January 2014. A dyslexic person himself, Paul has focussed his considerable knowledge and ability to start a pilot project in Samoa, aimed at helping Samoan primary and secondary school age children, using a computer software and workbook based programme called “Steps”.
In 2014, with the support of the Peace and Social Justice Group, Paul met with the Samoan Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) to initiate the pilot project where 4 schools were chosen. Teachers and Ministry staff were trained in the Steps programme by Paul, who then monitored progress over the following year. The church, through the PSJ Fund, donated 16 computers to the 4 schools for use in teaching dyslexic students.
August 2015 visit.
During August 2015, Paul Henriques, along with Gary and Brenda Bendall, visited the pilot schools in Apia, Samoa to assess the pilot dyslexia aid project. During this self-funded trip they visited the 4 pilot schools, and had the opportunity to also visit rural schools meeting with school principals and librarians. The visit to Samoa concluded with a meeting with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, where there was an enthusiastic response to continuing the project in 2016, and to work on a Samoan version of the Steps programme.