Emerging from the ashes of political and gang warfare throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Rose Town openly bears the scars of its decades’ long struggle for community peace and unity. Though the ‘borderline’ between Upper and Lower Rose Town no longer exists, challenges related to property rights, running water, sanitation, infrastructure and education continue to plague this inner city neighborhood. The tides began changing in 2007, however, following a visit from Prince Charles, when the Rose Town Project, a US$2 million infrastructure development initiative, was launched to improve the area’s water supply, roads and sewage services, as well as offer skills training for residents.
Educational programmes have since been rolled out under the Rose Town Foundation for the Built Environment (RTFBE). A fully functional library now serves the community, providing residents access to computers, the internet and books. The facility is used by several young students, primarily between the ages of 9 and 12 years old, to complete their homework, prepare for GSAT examinations and further develop their literacy and numeracy.
Persons who are interested in making
donations to the project may contact
Angela Stulz at
Last year, the Foundation embarked on its “Read to Succeed” campaign, which assists pupils with poor reading skills to improve their reading level, increase their reading speed, comprehension and attention span. To address some of the learning difficulties faced by children in the community, RTFBE currently assesses reading levels with a reading test, hosts three weekly reading sessions for each student with the autoskills computer software and then re-evaluates the child’s progress after two months. During the programme, GSAT students are introduced to work books to familiarise them with exam questions, 8-10 year olds are encouraged to read picture books and practice their writing, while younger children are given attractive, interesting books to motivate them to read.
The result of all this effort has been very promising as many pupils have shown progress and even developed a keen interest in reading.
Financial challenges, however, are mounting major obstacles for the programme. Monetary constraints have prevented the foundation from hiring trained teaches who are critical in guiding the students, particularly as it relates to oral language development and finding new methods to facilitate learning, as well as thwarted its ability to purchase additional computers so that more children can spend more time working with the autoskills software.
“Last year, five of our GSAT students were placed in schools outside of the inner-city, which is wonderful because it gives them exposure to children from different socio-economic backgrounds and offers them more opportunities,” shares Angela Stultz, Project Manager at the Rose Town Foundation. “We definitely need more funding to continue the ‘Read to Succeed’ programme,” she explains. In spite of the difficulties, the Foundation’s reading initiative continues to positively impact young children living within the community.