‘Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies‘ is this year’s theme for the annually held International Literacy Day on September 8. Literacy Day takes into account the rapidly widening inequalities across world regions that has hampered literacy progress.
To make International Literacy Day, we profile Telstar Jimmy who is an Australia Awards graduate with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism and Language and Literature. As Program Administrator for the Australian Government-funded project ‘Balance of Power’ (BOP), Telstar’s work contributes to countries in the Pacific achieving their objectives of inclusive and effective leadership in line with national policy frameworks. With her background in communications, Telstar enthusiastically explains ‘contributing to the publishing of two amazing books called ‘Nation-Builders: Celebrating Women in the Public Sector and Leadership in the Midst of COVID’, in partnership with the Public Service Commission, Department of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Health, has been a great example of how BOP uses the written word to shine a light on inclusive leadership in our society‘.
Telstar’s personal passion for literacy stems from her childhood when ‘I was known to hold a pen better than a bush knife‘. Graduating as an Australia Awards scholar from the University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Campus in Suva in 2018, coincided with Telstar’s first self-published book. Telstar has also published poems in ‘Sista, Stanap Strong‘, a Vanuatu women’s anthology, ‘Voes‘, a collection of creative writing published by Alliance Francaise Vanuatu, and has written stories for the ‘Taf Tumas‘ children’s books.
With low literacy rates still prevalent in Vanuatu, Telstar believes it takes a collaborative effort to promote literacy as an intrinsic part of life-long learning. ‘Communication is a big part of our workplaces, communities, institutions, even churches and effective literacy is vital. The world in which we are a part of is continuously evolving and one of the new global currencies is communications‘ Telstar further explains.
BOP is led and managed by highly skilled Pacific Islanders, acknowledging that changing social norms is best managed by those with the appropriate cultural insights. With Telstar’s love of literacy at the forefront of her approach, BOP has a skilled program administrator who contributes effectively to the project through the power of the written word, to its many partners and stakeholders.