Steve Morris Literacy Project
The Steve Morris Literacy Project was started by the Presbyterian Beach Mission Church in Durban, KZN, South Africa in 2004. David Tilling and Steve Morris, together, started this ministry to improve the English literacy of adults, and to create an ABET programme to uplift members of the local community, so that they would be better able to find work. A couple of years ago, as the Presbyterian Beach Mission ministries had ceased to function, the Steve Morris Literacy Project Committee transferred their association to the Addington Methodist Church, who kindly supported our ministry, giving us moral support when they can. Our Annual Prize giving Ceremony is held in their Church Hall every December. We are proud to say that in the 10 years of graduations, many disadvantaged people have graduated with their English level 2 certificates. They have gone on to different jobs and professions e.g. preachers, business men, waiters, some even back to university to finish studies that were interrupted by war in their home countries. The graduation ceremony is attended by sponsors, teachers, students and anyone interested in the school. Frequent local press reports and editorials at the time (and since) drawing attention to the enormous numbers of illiterate people in KwaZulu Natal Province spurred our efforts: there are said to be more than 1.5 million illiterate people in KwaZulu Natal out of a population of 10 million. With so much unemployment and poverty in the country, our objective is to create basic, free, opportunities for students to learn sufficient English language to enable them to apply for jobs. In March 2004, we conducted a straw poll and found 33 interested people. We subsequently held 3 public meetings to assess the potential. These meetings were held on the beachfront at different times of the day, and in different languages, and drew enough people to get 28 Assessment Forms completed by June 2004. On analysis by Operation Upgrade (an NGO with 40 years’ experience in the field of literacy) it was found that nearly all of the potential learners were unable to communicate well in English or isiZulu. And on this basis, we started our first classes. Our current cash resources limit us now to +/- 100 students per year, as our teachers are paid by the lesson. We look forward to interested people who may wish to get involved in one way or another.