A TFM Christmas: One Small, Tiny Step at a Time

As we approach Christmas, we take the time to reflect on our greatest source of strength and inspiration: our students. One of the biggest issues Fellows struggle with in school is the literacy level of their students. Today, 2012 Fellow Liew Suet Li shares the story of Jaya and her siblings – and how progress can happen, one step at a time.


“This is Jaya, the girl who couldn’t even read one-syllable words (“the”, “she”) at the beginning of last year.

She’s been coming to the reading sessions every week without fail. Last week, she asked if she could bring her siblings along. I thought she’d only bring her sister along, but she brought her ENTIRE family. Two brothers (age 13 and 18) and two sisters (age 15 and 8 ). And guess what? All of them can’t read (English) as well.

But here she is, patiently teaching her 8-year-old sister how to read one of the books donated by you guys. She herself probably could only read a third of the words in the book, but the confidence in her voice was remarkable. I still can’t believe that happened and I really, really, REALLY hope that even if the books may not be able to change Jaya’s literacy level right now, it will help change her sister’s.

One small tiny step at a time!”