Lutheran Church Provides Literacy Training to Elders in Bong

GBARNGA, Bong – The Lutheran Church in Liberia has graduated 61 students in the fourth cycle of its Bilingual Literacy Training Program in Gbarnga.

Birthed in 2015, the program aims to help illiterate adults and elderly people develop skills for reading and writing in their local languages and English.

The coordinator of the program, Naomi Ford Wilson, said the Bilingual Literacy Training Program was initiated by the Lutheran Church of Liberia through its partner, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the U.S.

She said the church has been involved with translating the bible in Kpelleh and teaching people to read the script over the years in Liberia through its office in Totota, in lower Bong.

Wilson said the church decided to venture into the literacy training in order to build the capacity of Liberians, especially adults and elderly people who had not acquired formal education.

“The Bilingual Literacy Training is currently being done in Bong and Lofa, and we are not only teaching members of the Lutheran Church; we are also providing the training to other people in various communities,” Wilson said.

During the elaborate graduation program, some of the students demonstrated their acquired reading and writing skills in front of the audience. Some fluently read different scriptures from the bible in Kpelleh and English, in addition to spelling and writing their names.

The graduates praised the Lutheran Church for the program, which they said has helped them developed reading and writing skills.

Garman Barbu, one of the graduates, said she could not go to school as a child during the presidency of William V. S. Tubman because her parents could not afford her fees.

“We want to tell the Lutheran Church in Liberia thank you for helping us to learn how to spell our names and we are asking them not to stop what they are doing,” Barbu said.

She encouraged her peers to take advantage of the program to learn how to read and write for more effective communications.

Another graduate, Joseph Better, believed to be in his 50s, and a resident of Cotton Tree Community in Gbarnga, could not hold back his joy and appreciation for the program.

“We are very happy and want to tell the Lutheran Church in Liberia thank you very much for what you have done for us,” Better said.

Better said the program has helped him learn to read in English, something Better said he could not do other than reading in Kpelleh.

The head teacher of the literacy training center in Gbarnga, Hawa Hundred, challenged residents of the various communities, to take advantage of the adult literacy program. She said she enjoys working with the old people and helping them to develop communication skills through reading and writing.

Featured photo by Obe Smith

Moses Bailey

Moses started his journalism career in 2010 as a reporter at Radio Gbarnga. In 2011, the Press Union of Liberia recognized him as the Human Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2017, he was the Development Reporter of the Year. He is also an Internews Health Journalism Fellow. Moses is also the regional coordinator for NAYMOTE-Liberia, an organization working with youth to promote democratic governance.

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