Written by Urvi Boolaky– Volunteer at ACAA
‘I love coming to the Saturday School to meet my new friends and learn maths’
‘My favourite part was the English lesson doing the ABC’s with my friends. The teacher let us write on the board with our whiteboard pens – it was so much fun!’
‘I make loads of new friends and learn about different animals.’
‘I love the friends I’ve made at school, especially Hafiz!’
September 8th is International Literacy Day, a day marked by UNESCO honoured to ‘recognise literacy skills people need to use in order to navigate in our increasingly digital-mediated society’. On the 7-8th, UNESCO will hold a 2-day event in their Paris headquarters to discuss literacy skills in some of the most disconnected parts of the world, and which policies need to be implemented by world leaders in order to help improve our global literacy levels.
This day is especially significant as literacy encompasses Sustainable Development Goal 4 of ‘Quality Education and Lifelong Learning’. In our digitally-central society, it is easy to forget those in the world who do not have the privilege of primary education or who don’t have the means to enrol into education. SDG 4 aligns with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to provide every child and adult the opportunity to achieve high levels of literacy and numeracy rates. This day is recognised worldwide in order to create a better educated, informed and innovative civil society.
At the ACAA, we’ve taken SDG 4 into our own hands and have had our Supplementary School in the London Borough of Lewisham running for 16 years. Each Saturday the ACAA teach vulnerable Afghan children English, Maths and Science to bridge the educational gap they may experience in school. Recently, we have relocated to Hounslow, which has the largest Afghan population in the UK. Over the past Summer, we have been successful in recruiting teachers who volunteer their Saturdays to teach these children, many of whom are refugees and do not have English as their first language. Our Supplementary School provides a safe and inclusive environment for children to develop their language, as well as foster their confidence in school so they can become active citizens in the local Hounslow and Lewisham communities.
As a volunteer teacher at the Supplementary School myself, the work the teachers and assistants do provides a wealth of invaluable support for the children. International Literacy Day provides the perfect platform to showcase the work we do here at the ACAA, encouraging children to nurture their educational development. Today marks the special occasion to promote literacy as an essential part of child development as part of SDG 4 and after the 2030 Education Agenda.
We’ve collected quotes from the children to encourage more children to attend our Saturday Schools, moreover to promote the importance literacy plays in our society. If you are interested in the work we do at the ACAA please do not hesitate to get in contact about the Supplementary School.