Seniors in Nova Scotia will have more opportunities to participate in specially designed literacy and learning programs as a result of a $40,000 government investment in the Seniors’ Literacy and Learning Initiative. The Seniors’ Secretariat and Department of Education each invested $20,000 to enable communities to implement literacy and learning programs for seniors. “We know that active participation by seniors in all forms of learning is essential to maintaining independence and self-esteem,” said Angus MacIsaac, chair of the Seniors’ Secretariat. “This investment will help deliver more literacy and learning programs to a wider group of seniors, resulting in a better quality of life for older Nova Scotians.” Over the last year, seniors’ literacy and learning pilot projects took place in five Nova Scotia communities. Projects were based on the Seniors’ Secretariat’s learning resource kit for seniors, which includes sections on story telling, computer learning, health and safety. The new funding will help extend these projects and support new activities. “Many seniors don’t have a chance to maintain the literacy skills they need to function easily in today’s text-focused world,” said Education Minister Jamie Muir. “We are focused on providing literacy and learning opportunities for Nova Scotians of all ages. This investment will give older Nova Scotians a chance to upgrade their skills, which will improve their self-confidence, health and overall enjoyment of life.” As part of one of the pilot projects, 11 seniors in the Kentville area collected their own stories to produce a book called Stories That Bind Us Together. The book sold out in the community, and three of the participants have since volunteered to tutor others through the Community Learning Network. “The seniors in our program definitely became more self-confident, and recognized many skills, such as writing, public speaking and reading comprehension,” said Carol Boudreau, facilitator, Kings County project. “Although their lives seem ordinary, they are filled with wisdom that needed to be passed on to family and community. Without the support of Kings County literacy programs, their stories would have gone unspoken, unwritten and unheard.” Through the Seniors’ Literacy and Learning Initiative, Community Learning Networks can apply for grants of up to $3,000 to implement senior-friendly literacy programs in their communities. More information about the Seniors’ Literacy and Learning Initiative is available by calling 1-800-670-0065 or by e-mail at [email protected] .
“Long-term stability is essential for sustainable return, along with access to such essentials as health services, education and jobs,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative Peter de Clercq told a news conference in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.“Potentially, if you are looking very much at the implementation of the CPA which is extremely important for the overall peace process in the country, yes, we could characterize this as serious,” he said, referring to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending the two-decades-long north-south civil war that killed at least 2 million people.But he voiced pride in UNHCR’s contribution to the successful return so far of nearly 2.5 million displaced persons, including 328,000 refugees from outside Sudan’s border, out of an estimated 4.5 million driven from their homes by the war, while acknowledging that violent inter-ethnic clashes throughout this year have caused new displacements. “This situation could take a much more permanent character so we really take it seriously,” Mr. de Clercq said.He also noted other concerns in Sudan, including the east, where the flow of refugees from neighbouring countries, overwhelmingly Eritrea but also Ethiopia and Somalia, continues at an annual rate of 1,800 a month, and the strife-torn Darfur region where, despite a reduction in open armed conflict, 2.7 million people remain displaced, still vulnerable to isolated attacks and banditry. Moreover, continuing attacks by the rebel Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have driven 18,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR) into Sudan, where they are seeking shelter along with some 68,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). 7 October 2009Significant challenges remain to the return of displaced people in southern Sudan following the 2005 peace accord between the Government and separatists, particularly this year’s inter-ethnic violence, a senior United Nations refugee official warned today.