Help create a Functional Literacy program for Puthalpattu

Status: Finished

A resource poor setting in a marginalized community without the ability to meet its basic needs ! How do you encourage them towards functional literacy ? Address the challenge by suggesting existing Adult literacy programs or re designing them for the people of Puthalpattu.

Hello Dee, Johnson. Dennis and other neighbours. I just found this wonderful website and am keen to see if there is anything I can do to contribute.
Not wanting to step on toes or repeat anyones posts, I'm reading up on where you are up to at present. Is there anything new to add in terms of the program's development?



Welcome on board Jen !
Your experience in EFL would help us reach our goal.
There is a lot of activity to kick start - resources for teaching materials; innovative course design; volunteer teachers etc etc . take your pick and .......jump right in ;-)
deepak mehra


Dear Jen

Nice to hear a friendly local accent... :-)

And also see that this project parallels the shift in your career interests. Motivation rules!

The discussion on how to proceed, and models, spreads over two discussion threads here. The most important thing with these discussions is to remember to tick the box to get notification of new messages... !

I see you are enrolled also in Kakungwe and Pagen.

Kakungwe is quite close to Kiliba and some similar issues there ... I have helped them put this together
and Pagen is near anai-acoke
-- the issue of school fees at Pagen is also an issue under discussion at kyarumba.nabuur. And a difficult one, many vnabuur illages struggling with the fundraising issue. I have proposed this model some time ago:
-- various such concepts in discussion in different places... Everything takes time...

Here, John has spoken of basic skills as being able to read signs and being able to sign one's own name.

I have asked if there can be consultations with the community itself, to generate motivation and clarity of objectives, based on this perspective:
and in the other [resources] discussion, I asked about relevance of Kerala (further south in India) and very high literacy rates there, interesting 'breakthrough' programs in the 1990s, with leaps forward and some slides backwards.

I guess my concern is that a program should have an organic growth within the community.

Hope you have time to review the issues and give us your thoughts.

best wishes



Hello all and thank you for your welcomes!
Wow, there certainly is a lot of information to plough through, thanks Dennis for linking me to those documents, I'm working my way through understanding what the current situation is regarding adult literacy worldwide. I think it can be hugely beneficial to us that this is an area that is in focus.
I have a few questions about the program so far. I recall reading a posting about Johnson having implemented some voluntary classes already. Am I correct? If so, I was wondering about feedback on how they were working out.
In terms of setting up the literacy program, how about numbers. How many are we aiming to include and how often? Do you envision it being a set program or would the reality of the everyday mean that lessons would be attended sporadically.
Is there anything set out in document form yet, outlining the villages project proposal, that could be used to approach literacy organisations? I sent off a couple of exploratory emails to groups who requested more info on the project.

Here is an interesting article from a few years ago which caught my eye after reading the contribution on DVDs
Incase the link doesnt work, its about the use of subtitled Bollywood movies to help with literacy. It mentions Hindi subtitles however, but it is a few years old. Might be worth looking into.

Anyway, that's me for now.
Thanks all

By the way, International Literacy Day is 8th September, could we utilise this?!


Besides the existing groups, we could identify individuals in the village with some degree of literacy and let them be individual mentors
by rotation, for different students. Sometimes the adult is more comfortable in the one on one setting.
This seems to work well in the adult literacy program I work with , as an informalteacher mentor.


Hi Meenakshi,
The suggestion of using mentors within the community is a good one. In some pockets of Uttar Pradesh I did come across its successful implementation. School children took time out to teach elders and Adult Volunteers from the community taught 15 -20 adults.
Each one - Teach one is another off shoot of the same thought and is being extensively used in the literacy project in India.
John's NGO has been working with some women SHG groups in the area & they could discuss the feasability of such an arrangement within themselves.
dee m


Hi jennifer,

Thanks for the patience. Have been seeking answers to some of your queries.

In terms of setting up the literacy program, how about numbers. How many are we aiming to include and how often?
A small (10 - 15 person) group to initiate the literacy program which other SHG groups may like to emulate as well.

Do you envision it being a set program or would the reality of the everyday mean that lessons would be attended sporadically.
- Program should have the flexibilty & provision of allowing people who have missed classes to catch up. Although in these marginalized settings- the opportunity to earn on a day - takes precedence over attending classes for a potential future pay off. However a certain amount of commitment is important as well.

Is there anything set out in document form yet, outlining the villages project proposal, that could be used to approach literacy organisations?

Not yet at nabuur . Lets start working on it ;-)

Am also requesting John to add to these inputs & fill the gaps regarding the feedback on existing efforts.

dee m


Hello everyone,
I have just joined this village, and found an excellent website which gives some basic principles for teaching adult literacy. It is in English and would require the teacher to be able to read English, or it would need to be translated but the principles are transferable to any language. The website is at this address:
< >


Lynley ! This again is an excellent contribution.
Thank you for such a focussed research input.

Have browsed the site
<> and it does offer good Adult Literacy Training material.

John, please have a look too and let us know if there are specific modules which you would like to use. We could then start looking for volunteer translators if reqd.

dee m


Hi everyone,
I have just joined.I have worked as a volunteer in adult literacy training in Ireland and have found many materials for teaching literacy are not very expensive.What is needed is imagination and fun.The main problem is training the 'teachers' ,once a few people are trained in how to teach literacy the momentum begins.
I shall be thinking on this subject over the next few days.


I'm just leaving this link which is from Irelands own National Adult Literacy site.
There are some useful tools here which might spark some ideas.


This website mlght be of help:


Hi Kate !
Thank you for reviving the discussion and the website lead.
It is an interesting site and some of the literacy tools offer immense potential if they are adapted to suit local examples at Putthalpattu.
The Game section can make learning fun.
John , do you have some one who could do it for you i.e adapt it for Putthalpattu ?

deepak mehra


Dear Ken,

Did visit the id21 website. It has some great research material.
A must read for commencing and sustaining any literacy program !
Am sure some of the write ups would provide insight to John and his colleagues at Puthallpattu , who are exploring the implementation of the literacy plan. Leaning more towards the tools, study materials and financial resources .

deepak mehra


Dear NABUUR Volunteers.

Today it's International Volunteer Day.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your dedication and invaluable support towards finding solutions.

The time and energy put forth into your volunteering work really make life changing differences for other people.

As NABUUR grows we are honored to work with passionate volunteers such as yourself, as you are the ones who make it happen.

NABUUR and all those involved celebrate you today, and we look forward to a long and continued collaboration.

It couldn't be done without you.

Warm regards,

Siegfried Woldhek