A beautifully written piece about literacy in Gulu prison, written by an answer to prayer: Phoebe. She is the sister of Kiwi friends of ours also volunteering in Gulu. Phoebe has blessed us in many ways, including writing many of our phonics readers, helping with our reading tests and now helping to create some teacher training on reading storybooks aloud to children. Phoebe – we love you and are thankful for your efforts in improving literacy in so many corners of Gulu!

The World-Once-Removed Weekly

I’ve been teaching basic reading, intermediate English, and Zumba in Gulu Women’s Prison for nearly three months.

A couple of weeks ago, I said to a guard who remarked on the women’s enthusiasm for learning, ‘I just wish they could have more things to read during the week, beyond what I can bring. Basic readers for the beginners’ class, novels and non-fiction for intermediate…’

Guard: ‘The prison has a library with many books.’

Me: (looking around wildly) What? Where?

Guard: In the Men’s Prison. Women are not allowed to enter there.

WTF.

This is where I have to mention that I’m incredibly lucky to know Pastor Florence. Florence was once in prison herself, and after being released she fought to get an education and became a pastor. She spends several days a week in the prison – some prayer and singing, but mostly just hanging out with the women, who…

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