News & Blog: Learner Stories


Rebecca Thak, a learner in the Adult Tutoring Program, wrote the following article for the winter 2017 issue of our learner newsletter, The Reader. 

Hello! My name is Rebecca Thak. I am from South Sudan. I come from a very large family.My mom and dad lived with us. We were very happy. We lived in a small town called Mayiendit with my siblings, my five brothers and four sisters. We walked to school every morning. There was no school bus available. Every day when we came back from school, we read our books and did our homework before sunset, because we had no electricity, we had only lanterns. In 2003, I got married and moved to Kenya, I went to school to improve my English. From there, I found new friends and learned Swahili. I was very excited to learn a different language.


In my literacy class, I learned about a woman from Kenya called Wangari Maathai. And she knows as ‘’The Tree Woman of Africa.’’ How did she get this name? She got this name when she went to United States to study science and learn about the environment. After she returned back to Kenya, she went to the village, she saw all the tree were gone. The government and business people cut them down to build companies. She was very upset. After a few months later, she told the people of Kenya that, clearing the land would cause many problems, because trees held the soil in place. Without the trees, rain washes away the top layer of the ground where crops are planted. This situation would be a big problem for farmers to grow food.

In conclusion, Wangari’s dream spread all over Kenya. She started a group called the Green Belt Movement”. This involved thousands of woman in Kenya who eventually planted trees. In 2004, other woman in Africa had planted nearly 30 million trees. Wangari’s achievement was to protect the environment. How could one person make such a difference!

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