Our People


Staff. Students. Supporters - Here's your chance to meet some of the people that are lifting Aboriginal adult literacy across the country.

As you read on, remember that each community we work with delivers their own Literacy Campaign. It's local people helping their own community. And it's people like you that make that possible!


Mary Waites is the coordinator of the Brewarrina Literacy Campaign. And now she’s the star of a major documentary on our work, In My Own Words. The film follows Mary’s journey helping a group of adult students who are learning to read and write for the first time.

“It’s a whole new world out there and for us to be able to read and write puts it in a whole different way,” Mary says.


Professor Jack Beetson is Executive Director of the Literacy for Life Foundation.
He’s a Ngemba man who has been working in Indigenous education for many years. Jack’s expertise has been recognised around the globe – he has received a United Nations Unsung Hero Award, a Cuba Award and is the first Indigenous Australian to be named in the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.
A while ago Jack sat down with ABC radio’s Richard Fidler to talk about the path that led him from leaving school at an early age to working to lift literacy in Aboriginal communities. Have a listen to learn more of Jack’s story.

ABC Interview


“It makes you feel bad, when other people can read, you know?” says Clarence Gibbs, or Clarrie as he is better known. Not being able to read or write can make life tough for students like Clarrie. But Learning to read and write can be life-changing. In the trailer for In My Own Words you can see the touching moment when Clarrie read aloud the first letter he had ever written.


Did you know our approach to raising adult literacy was developed in Cuba and has been used in 30 countries around the world?

Lucy Nunez is a volunteer from Cuba who has travelled to Australia to work with Literacy for Life Foundation. She makes sure we are benefiting from all the international experience and expertise that delivered success overseas.

Lucy works side-by-side with local staff and students, helping to build their skills.

“I tell them if you want respect you have to increase your knowledge," she says.


Literacy graduate Narelle plans to use her new skills to get a job where she can assist others.

“Cleaning. Helping little kids. Baby kids. That was my dream when I was young, helping those elderly people and little kids,” she says.

Taking part in the Literacy Campaign also helped Narelle get her Learner driving license. Low literacy can be a huge barrier that prevents people from getting a license. This can cause further problems for people living in rural and remote communities, where essential services, such as hospitals, can be hundreds of kilometres away.