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From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.
This is the second part of our story on how a program in Ghana is helping children to read and write in their home language. The language is called Safaliba. A team of researchers and teachers believe this early education helps when children begin learning English in school. Paul Schaefer grew up in Ghana and works for the Christian-based non-governmental organization GILLBT. That stands for Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation. He and his wife worked with local speakers to create a written language for the first time. Since the Safaliba language has only recently been a written one, there are few materials for teachers and students to read. Mr. Schaefer says it is “absolutely critical” to have published materials. Even though we live in a time when a lot is done on the Internet, he says, it is not practical to have literacy without books. Their biggest need is to be able to print more books. Donors to the Safaliba project recently bought a copy machine, called a duplicator. Having the duplicator in the Safaliba area makes it possible to do almost all the printing work locally. It will help the Safaliba community to print books in their own language. A Safaliba speaking artist, Kotochi Mahatma, will be creating pictures for the books. The duplicator could make thousands of copies. The new machine meant that GILLBT could publish a dictionary for beginning readers. The first bilingual dictionary of Safaliba and English was published in 2014. It has almost 1000 words. It will help both beginning readers of Safaliba and beginning learners of English.