CITY of Gunsan supports the literacy of its senior citizens. Recently, the city collected works of literacy education projects and, through Gunsan Neulpureun School, published a collection of poems called “Grandmother Decides to Write.”
In Gunsan city, Neulpureun School (meaning ‘evergreen’ in Korean) began in 2008 as part of “Creating a Zero Learning City for Memorandum” project. The school is run by the city government. Currently, 30 literacy educators are teaching literacy classes at 56 courses in 42 districts and townships. They do not only teach Korean, but also run hands-on learning programme such as cultural festivals and various courses including music, mathematics, English, and art. It aims at solving the inconvenience of daily life caused by illiteracy.
The collection of poems is part of the result of this project. The publication contains more than 90 works of students. The content varies from the excitement and joy of learning to the love and pain that learners did not express before learning to read and write. Students of this facility missed the opportunity to learn Korean due to different personal reasons. Once they learned Korean at a late age through literacy education, it changed their life. The project reverted their life, for example from farmers to poets.
This project received positive response from people. Most students, including the oldest one turning 92, had studied for more than five years in this facility. “Rather than spending meaningless time at the senior citizen centre, the world looks different after I studied to write Korean,” she said. “I was looking for hope for the rest of my life.”
Said that I’m learned
Said that I’m turned
Excited by myself, loved it, and all right
More I will learn
Feel so good
A short poem written by Moon Hong Rye (age 78), student of the literacy education project