The sacrifices of parents – Education!
Hello folks, it’s Jamaica Urban Legend, here to tell you to never, ever give up on your dreams, regardless of your ages. After all you are never too old.
There was no doubt that the stories of Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL) students — 59-year-old Raphael Young and 47-year-old Veronica Robinson-Malcolm — were among the highlights of the organization’s first power breakfast to commemorate International Literacy Day last Thursday at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
The breakfast, under the theme for this year ‘Reading the past, Writing the Future’, celebrated the 50th staging of International Literacy Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) through presentations from the UN body, the JFLL, and its students.
“I am thankful for this programme. It has changed my life,” Young said in his speech to the gathering. “When I heard that the programme was coming to my community I was very glad and I welcomed it. When I joined the class I was in grade one.”
Young, who will be 60 in November, started the programme in 2014 and steadily progressed to the point where, not only can he read the newspaper, but he has started the registration process for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certification (CSEC) examinations.
“At the age of 22, my grandmother died, and I grew up without a mother or father. I made the decision to transform my life, so when JFLL came to Majesty Gardens, where I reside, I was glad,” the father of three said.
He continued: “A lot of people tried to discourage me, so I wrote an article titled ‘The Voice’: there are many voices including the voice of your family members and friends, with some negative words that will lead you astray, like ‘you can’t do it’, ‘you do not need to’, ‘why waste so much effort’. But don’t listen to those voices, don’t give up just because of what someone might say, use that as motivation.”
In the case of Robinson-Malcolm, the JFLL helped her to bridge the gap in her secondary education by affording her the opportunity to attain her school leaving certificate.
“My educational ambition became disrupted when I got pregnant at the tender age of 15 years old, so I left school at grade 10. I attended class during and after pregnancy, but my goal was further pushed back when I got pregnant again,” she recounted.
Robinson-Malcolm’s said her stepmother was supporting her after the first pregnancy but stopped when she got pregnant a second time, forcing her to seek a job.
However, it was while applying for another job, Robinson-Malcolm realised that she would need her school leaving certificate as, while she met all the other criteria, the absence of certification was an obstacle. She went to JFLL and successfully sat her Jamaica School Certificate Examinations in the subjects of mathematics, English, civics, history and biology. She also passed English, mathematics, electronic document preparation and management, human and social biology and social studies at the CXC level.
Author: Ricardo Jamaica