• The Caribbean Island nation of Cuba increases adult literacy skills in outback Bourke.
The small nation of Cuba and the community of Bourke have completed the Literacy for Life Adult Literacy Program.
14 Mar 2014 - 5:35 PM  UPDATED 17 Mar 2014 - 11:17 AM

June Smith, one of 45 participants in the program, graduated today to benefit her grandchildren.

"I look after my grandchildren and they were sort of a big inspiration for me, how could I help them if I didn't know how to read and write? So you know, by having my granny’s with me that made me think that I’ve got to do something about it,” said Ms Smith.

The pilot program is modelled on a reading and writing campaign that was introduced in Cuba after the 1959 revolution.

Now, Executive Director Jack Beetson has brought the program to rural Australia.

"It's just incredible that you've got 45 people that graduated already and another 18 that are waiting to start with the next intake of the literacy campaign in two weeks’ time so it's gone absolutely gangbusters out here,” said Mr Beetson.

He says the program is one solution for overcoming the existing social problems in Bourke.

"You know I was talking to the head of the police today and he was saying it's made a significant difference to the people in the campaign and their engagement with the criminal justice system, and he was happy to make a testimony to that effect. That's the difference it can make,” said Mr Beetson.

NRL personality Phil Gould is also supportive of the initiative.

"Education is the thing, without education you can't get a job, you get a lack of self-esteem and it all starts with education,” said Mr Gould.