John Fanana
Project manager and adult literacy specialist

I started The Heroes of Faith project, an education and learning initiative for the elderly and community in Orange Farm because of a personal experience.

My father never attended school and could not read or write. I was shocked that because of the past he never had the opportunity to be educated to even as much as write his name, not mentioning learning to read. I simply had to do something about it and help him.

So at the age of 66 I started to teach him how to read and write using sub-standard B, today’s grade 2, material. It was amazing to see him trying and I had tears in my eyes the day he first wrote his name on paper. It was such an emotional thing and I could see the joy, appreciation and sense of accomplishment on his face. At this old age it was the first time he could read and write.

As a result of this experience I developed a passion for education and helping others, especially the elderly who never had the opportunity to learn and study.

I realised this need when I went to church in Orange Farm and discovered that many of the elderly people attending church could not even read their bibles and had to ask their children or others to help them. This to me was a sad case and again I felt that I had to help them and I started my mission to empower the community of Orange Farm in 2010.

My boss at Media Works, Jackie Carroll, when hearing about this, felt that Media Works needed to contribute to my cause and the company supplied its ACCELERATE learning material to the project.  The learning materials included learner workbooks and ACCELERATE learning software for basic oral education and levels 1, 2 and 3. This multi-media approach introduced learners to technology in an enjoyable, non-threatening manner. Media Works also supplied its facilitator training guides for the volunteers who assists in educating the elderly. This of course meant a whole lot to, not only me, but the whole community.

“Johns’ work ethic and passion in making a difference in the education sector caught our attention and compelled us to assist him in his mission to empower the Orange Farm elders and community,” says Carroll, CEO of Media Works.

Media Works has proven to be a catalyst for change in the education fraternity with its drive to get South Africa literate. It is a vision of mine to make a change in communities that is sustained by genuine persistence to see that change and learners see facilitation or teaching as a calling in assisting those that lack knowledge.

The basic adult education and training (ABET) has helped the learners to improve their lives and now allows them to pursue their dreams.