MARGARET Littlehales is using the Miner News as a tool to educate and inform Ballarat Sudanese children in an after school program, held at the Ballarat Library. “The program is run through the Ballarat Central Uniting Church; it’s for anyone who wants to come but basically it’s for our refugee children of Sudanese background,” she said.
“It started because the Sudanese mothers who were learning English asked for help with their children’s’ homework.”
Ms Littlehales added that they started the program by giving one-to-one help but it grew too big and it was hard to find enough tutors. “So the Minister, Reverend Kate Tierney, decided to have a homework club and I think we are in the third year,” Ms Littlehales said. “Last year we had fourty kids on the roll and there are about 30 here each week.” Ms Littlehales says they are using the Miner News for comprehension. “I will set them some questions and they will have to read it in the Miner because it is easy for them to read and most importantly it tells them stories they are interested in,” she said. “It started when the new aquatic centre was being developed, they kept track of it because the kids kept asking what was happening and through the Miner we kept track of what was happening. “So I might get them to do something on Harmony Fest and the older kids who are doing history might do something on the Garden of the Grieving Mother, I know they will all madly look at the Begonia Festival. “I like to use the paper because the articles are short enough, clear enough and they are interesting enough, and it supports what we are doing – comprehending what they read.” Ms Littlehales added that it also helped them by informing them of things in the community they live in. “We started using the paper about three years ago when I couldn’t find things that were interesting for them,” she said.
“We have some wonderful volunteers, not only from the church but from the wider community, students from Ballarat Clarendon College. We are at the Ballarat Library from 4 to 5 o’clock every Tuesday night and everyone is welcome.”