Pacific Dyslexia Aid

In 2014 we started helping Samoan children significantly behind in their literacy when we partnered with the Samoan Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture. A pilot programme in two high schools and two primary schools was implemented, with our role being to train teachers in the use of the Steps literacy programme and provide the schools with computers. The Steps literacy programme, developed by The Learning Staircase in Christchurch, is used in over 800 New Zealand schools and is kindly provided by The Learning Staircase free to Tongan and Samoan schools. This multi-sensory programme is carefully research based and combines computer activities and complementary workbooks.

Our Samoan pilot programme was successful and we continue to support a primary school there; however, our main focus is now in Tonga. We began work there in 2016 partnering with an NGO in the northern island of Vava’u, again acting in a training and hardware provision role. Success there led to the current partnership with Tonga’s Ministry of Education and Training, headquartered in Neiafu on the main island of Tongatapu. Our role is to train teachers to use Steps, build the capacity of Ministry staff to be trainers in the use of Steps and provide laptops to primary schools.

For more detailed information in previous reports see the posts below, including “Older posts”.

Pacific Dyslexia Aid – June 2021 Update

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Although Tonga fortunately has no community transmission of COVID-19, travel there is not possible at present and thus the pandemic has seriously affected our ability to train teachers in the use of Steps as well as supply laptops to schools.

Our main effort has shifted to attempting to collect from New Zealand companies laptops which are up for replacement. We will then provide them to Tongan primary schools as soon as we can. In addition, fund raising continues in order to purchase new laptops for the schools.

We look forward to being able to return to Tonga and assist their Ministry staff to expand this valuable and well received Steps literacy programme, especially helpful for dyslexic children.

Tongan teachers and Ministry of Education and Training staff with certified Steps Pacific Islands literacy trainer Dr Paul Henriques of our Auckland Unitarian Peace and Social Justice Group, in January 2020.

Peace & Social Justice Report – July 2020

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Peace & Social Justice Report – July 2020

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Brenda reports that in the Food Parcel Assistance for Glen Taylor School (GTS) during lockdown, in which much of the congregation was involved, a total of $2,370 was donated by us which meant many families in their local communities were helped. The principal of GTS and Clay put together a Sunday Zoom service on 17th May which was much enjoyed.

When asked how we could best help advocate for GTS, the principal suggested we could help ensure the promised upgrade to the school property actually occurs, support an increase in wages for Teacher Aids, and continue to press for an end to child poverty and a reduction in inequality.

Continue reading Peace & Social Justice Report – July 2020

Peace and Social Justice Group – February 2020 update

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with Paul Henriques

Peace and Social Justice Group – February 2020 update
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Paul Henriques © 16 February 2020

Duffy Books in Homes

Our Peace and Social Justice (PSJ) sponsorship of the Glen Taylor School, which enables their participation in the Duffy Books in Homes programme, continues to reward us with great satisfaction. The children are thriving with the supplied books. PSJ representatives will attend a role model assembly at the school in March and I’m sure Brenda and Gary will provide more details on that after we’ve been.

Continue reading Peace and Social Justice Group – February 2020 update

Peace & Social Justice Group – October 2018 Update

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Amnesty International

What does Amnesty do?
We investigate and expose the facts, whenever and wherever abuses happen.
We lobby governments, and other powerful groups such as companies. Making sure they keep their promises and respect international law.
Each month we write letters in response to Rapid Action requests from Amnesty International.
The October letter is written for the Nicaraguan student leaders and others who had been arrested and detained for exercising their rights to peaceful protest about the Nicaraguan authorities increasingly repressive strategies including promoting a Shoot to Kill Strategy and Repression of Social Protest in Nicaragua. One of the students arrested is a young medical student and cousin of a New Zealand citizen.

Duffy Books in Homes

Gary, Paul, Angela and Brenda were very happy to attend the Duffy Role Model’s Assembly at Glen Taylor School last month. Thanks to the PSJ Group and the Church’s congregation, our Church is able to provide 50% of the cost of new books distributed to the pupils at Glen Taylor School on an ongoing basis. The books given are ones that the children choose, and take home to keep. Quite a moving thought isn’t it, helping kids build up a Library of their own at home!
The students were a delight and the staff welcoming. We look forward to building a closer relationship with the school’s management and students, with possible assistance in other areas. We hope to be able to bring some ideas for participation to the congregation early next year.

Pacific Dyslexia Programme

Paul reports that the Tongan dyslexia project ran well this year and has now finished as students are busy after school studying for their end of year exams. The tutors from the Library Trust we work with are looking forward to next year. In Samoa the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture have restarted the dyslexia project on a small scale and have asked about our idea of developing a Samoan version of the Steps dyslexia programme.