Letter writing project liberates

Chisholm Catholic College
​Chisholm student Katelyn Lineham helps a Liberation Letters patron improve her reading skills

STUDENTS at Chisholm Catholic College, Cornubia, have embarked on a community literacy project inspired by the college patron, Caroline Chisholm.

The pioneering Liberation Letters project offers clients (many from refugee backgrounds) an opportunity to further develop their English speaking and writing skills.

Under strict and close supervision, the students visit ACCESS Gateway at Woodridge to read books with refugees and migrants with little or no English language skills

Liberation Letters began when Year 12 students attended a USQ Change Makers Program with the specific project in mind.

The students pitched their idea and received funding from the Change Makers pool of funds.

Eight Year 12 students and three Year 9 student leaders then spent their SECA Sport time providing literacy support at Logan Central Library.

This took the form of reading with, playing games and offering conversational opportunities to refugee and migrant people from the Logan area.

It was a very rewarding experience for the students as well as their “new friends”.

This term, Liberation Letters will offer an opportunity for anyone in the local community needing assistance with literacy to come along to the college’s newly-refurbished library.

Assistant Principal for Mission and Community Mark Craig said the project was rich and transformational work.

Mark said working with refugees in the local community was a powerful way to incarnate the spirit of Caroline in the college's current context.

He said Caroline Chisholm worked with young women in Australia's early years of settlement to help them develop the life skills necessary for life in a new country.

“The young women Caroline Chisholm worked with, like refugees today, experienced dislocation from their own communities to enter a strange and unfamiliar land and an uncertain future.

“She helped them integrate and find their feet, which is exactly what Liberation Letters endeavours to do,” he said.

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