The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Hazelann Gibbs Depeza

Empowering Male Prisoners for Meaningful Living

Hazelann Gibbs Depeza
The Centre for Creative and Festival Arts, The UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad.

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     Last modified: September 19, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/01/2006 10:00 AM in NT Portland B
     (View Schedule)

Life must have meaning that is relevant to an individual's development. This meaning is found in education. But education that is not empowering is not truly education, for education must seek to prepare the student for life and living.
Reading is an essential aspect of education. Illiteracy has been linked to poverty, crime, and low self esteem. But what motivates an individual to learn to read, especially when that individual is an adult, and moreover, that adult is male and incarcerated?
This presentation is the true story of how prisoners at the Maximum Security Prison fell in love with learning to read and with learning to learn and to live via The Empowerment Program. The program is a literacy program that begins with a self esteem component which can be summed up in the caption, "I know I'm somebody, 'cause God don't make no junk!"
Students against whom the odds are stacked need to know that they are loved and that they are worth loving to be brought to that place where they love themselves and are willing to learn to read and achieve in order to develop themselves for meaningful living.

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