Premier Dwight Ball has announced Suna Dau Yath of St. John’s as this year’s recipient of the Council of the Federation Literacy Award. The awards were made in July.
The announcement coincides with International Literacy Day on September 8, which celebrates literacy and skills development.
“I am blessed to be in Canada, to come to Newfoundland and Labrador, and to find beautiful people who are really supportive. Without them, I would not be here today,” she said in a release from the premier’s office Friday morning.
Dau Yath was born in Sudan and began her education learning Arabic by an oil lamp.
"When I came to Canada, I really wanted to learn and to know about a lot of things like how to be a successful person."
Suna Dau Yath
Upon her arrival in Canada, she worked to learn English, enrolling in English as a Second Language training. She spent much of her spare time improving her English knowledge by borrowing books from the library and reading to her children.
“When I came to Canada, I really wanted to learn and to know about a lot of things like how to be a successful person,” she said.
Since her arrival she has completed adult basic education courses and graduated from high school.
Dau Yath has earned the respect of the local Sudanese community and is leader among her peers. She hopes to pursue post-secondary education, but in the meantime she volunteers at a community centre and children’s school.
“I had zero English and I got the support to be here today. Thank you to my tutors, the people who nominated me for this award and my family for their support. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my community and past experiences,” she said.
“It is my great pleasure to congratulate Suna Dau Yath, whose extraordinary dedication to education for herself and her family has earned her the Council of the Federation Literacy Award,” the premier said.
The Council of the Federation Literacy Award was established in 2004 and celebrates the valuable contributions made by Canadians in the field of literacy as well as adult learners who demonstrate exceptional commitment to literacy.