Alfalit International’s Executive Director, Catherine Penrod, and Program Director, Teresa de Almeida, visited 3 program centers in Portugal this past June.
ACRAS (Christian Association for Reinsertion and Social Support) serves some of the poorest neighborhoods in Lisbon, catering to homeless and needy families. They are keen to offer Alfalit programs for at least 60 interested students. However, they are in need of funds to pay teacher(s).
Students in the Caxias Prison program center remain hopeful towards changing their lives through literacy. Our team was humbled to learn that students choose to study during their allotted recreational time.
At the Oeiras Community Center program, the youngest student is 63 years old! Our team observed that the students were able to read and comprehend full texts. The center partnered with another Portuguese government accredited organization so that Alfalit graduates receive a recognized certificate. Oeiras can be developed as a model for other community centers looking to offer literacy programs.
Additionally, Alfalit has been teaching a Syrian refugee family to read and write through a new course started in January. The family from Damascus includes a couple and a 2 year-old boy (pictured above). The classes (thrice weekly 2 hour sessions) are taking place in the premises of the organization where the family is currently housed.
As of end of the 1st quarter we had 84 students in Portugal across 9 centers served by 14 teachers.