Marlene’s Story | Adult Literacy Programme

Here at Haven. we constructed two housing sites in Morne Blanc, Gonaïves in 2010/11 to provide housing and sanitation facilities to 224 households.

The two sites house over 1,100 residents, including men, women, children and the elderly.

Marlene Fleurie is 42-years-old and lives on a housing site built by Haven in Morne Blanc, along with her husband and two children.  While her husband is currently unemployed, Marlene works as a cleaner at the site’s community-based school.

In September 2011, an Adult Literacy programme was initiated on site, sparked by the initiative of the community itself and supported by our community development team.  For this programme, five community mobilisers were recruited and trained onsite: these five individuals now receive a small monthly income from the programme, which is supported by the Ministry of Education and Haven.

Before the Adult Literacy Programme was launched, Marlene was completely illiterate; she could not even write her name.  She wanted to learn to read and write because she was unable to communicate.  If she had a problem, there was very little she could do to take action and get it solved.  She had to sign important documents with an “x” and could not understand what she was agreeing to.  This made Marlene feel very disempowered.

Since she started participating in the programme, Marlene has developed literacy skills.  Now, if she has a problem, she can write a letter to try to address it.  She can read and better understand documents, and now, when the need arises, she can sign documents with her proper name.  She feels better about herself and is happier with her life.  She is motivated and is committed to learning more; in fact, her daughter helps her with her literacy homework!   Marlene strongly feels that she has grown as a person.


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