Student Stories

Student Stories

Our students come from all walks of life.

Adult Learner Stories

Over Read Write Now's extensive years of service, thousands of individuals have worked with volunteer tutors to achieve their personal and professional goals. Read and listen to the stories of some of our amazing inspiring adult learners.

Recount of recent cultural experiences by RWN student Cecil

Lifelong reading and learning is the broad term for education that occurs after school as Cecil’s story demonstrates. Cecil contacted the Read Write Now office six months ago. He recently moved with his family from a small Indigenous community in the Kimberley region to Perth. Working as an Aboriginal Engagement Liaison Officer at a Secondary School he understands the importance of lifelong learning and self-improvement to ensure job security and future growth opportunities for himself and his family. Cecil is passionate to serve as a role model to the young people at his school and community who look up to him and who he wants to inspire to follow through to reach their goals and to maintain a positive cultural identity for wellbeing, belonging and connectedness. Read Cecil’s recount of his and his family’s recent cultural experiences, written during tutoring sessions with RWN Tutor, Ann.

Smoke and Mud Ceremony conducted by the Gija and Nyininy Jaru people of the Warmun Community

In November, my wife and I took our twin babies back to the community for a smoke and mud ceremony.
This is a tradition that has been handed down through the generations to keep the babies strong.

First, we break up the earth from an anthill into chunks and put these pieces over a slow-burning fire.
The fire is made from the roots of the bush berry, (mabarra.) Young, green leaves from two eucalypts,
(demalal and manyinyi), are added to the fire. We stir the mud lumps over and over in the fire.
When they are black, we remove them from the fire. We break them into small pieces,
we crush them and add water to make a mud mixture. We rub the babies with this mud.

We approach the fire to let the babies smell the smoke. We wrap them securely and
cover ourselves with a big blanket to keep the smoke in. The smoke helps them sleep
well at night. We stay under the blanket for a short time, just long enough for the babies
to give a little cry or cough. The babies don’t get bathed until the next day.
They have their bath in boiled, cooled water with the same type of green leaves we use for
the smoking ceremony.

Published in The Herald, Saturday March 4, 2023 - Page 10

My Stroke Story by RWN student Ray Bekeris

Ray Bekeris, a remarkable man who has worked hard on recovering his functional abilities
after experiencing a significant stroke. Ray contacted the Read Write Now program as part of
his quest to be able to read and write again, and not only to read and write, but, as it turned out,
to write books. He began with writing down what had happened to him on the way
home from work that fateful day. This is the way how Ray describes his way back to
living his life after the stroke.



'If a bridge collapsed in your town and it was peak hour traffic,
a few cards would end up in the water and lives would be lost.
Eventually cars would back up on either side but people would still want to go home.
They would find another route. It wouldn't be the fastest way home, they they would still get there.
So too with a stroke victim! 
In some cases part of the brain has collapsed but the brain has these amazing qualities
to find other pathways to navigate the way home.
So, this is my story about how a stroke victim's brain can find a way home.'


Ray discusses his stroke story on ABC Radio during Adult Learners Week 2022 and
on Iris Lavell's Australian Baby Boomer podcast

The interview begins with Ray and his tutor, Marny, talking about Ray's involvement
with Read Write Now. It then branches out as Ray reflects on the journey from a point
of not being able to walk or talk, to where he is today,
someone who can walk, talk, drive a car, and write a compelling story.


My Reading and Writing Journey by RWN student Shorn

'When I arrived in Australia, I could not read and write and could only spell my name and a few other letters. I joined Read Write Now 20 years ago. Now I can read and write very well but spelling is still challenging for me so I continued with Read Write Now.

I am happy that I can read and write and to be able to fill out forms. It is a great achievement for me to know that I can do all those things. I never knew how to use a computer, to read, to write, and to spell. The Read Write Now tutor taught me how to use a computer and now I can do so without much help.

When my daughter and I travelled oversees for holiday, I could fill out the forms at the airport and did not have to rely on my daughter. We went on a trip around the Caribbean islands and visited my family. My daughter loved it very much.

I am so thankful for the help, I have received over the years from the tutors. Thank you Read Write Now for giving me the ability and opportunity to be able to do things that I could not do before.'

Vicki's story about her difficulties at school

Read Write Now student Vicki tells her story about her difficult experiences at school, her frustration at not being able to learn like others did and how by having the courage to make one phone call, she accomplished so much.

' I just couldn't understand how the other kids could just get it, how letters and numbers all seemed so easy, why their books would look so tidy and neat. I just didn't know why or how I was different. I remember being made an example of and still hear the teacher's words: "See, this is what happens when you don't pay attention."'

full story

Letter from a student

Maureen was matched with Jan and when they finished working together, Maureen wrote a letter of thanks.