Diana’s Journey To Gain Independence Through Education

Diana’s Journey To Gain Independence Through Education

Growing up in the remote areas of Queensland, Diana was exposed to mostly station life with limited access to education.

“I lived on stations most of my life. I used to work on the stations in Queensland, New South Wales and Alice Springs. I’ve also worked for Silver Chain for a while.”

During her primary and high school years, Diana was supposed to do School of the Air, and attend the local school while she was in town. However, due to her family affairs, she did not have the opportunity to access further education.

“My mum did not send me to school as there were family things she did not want the school to know about. My dad never learned to read either, but he was a very knowledgeable man who taught me station life and life skills such as mechanics and building skills.” Diana explained.

Even with limited access to education, Diana has been determined to seek an independent life but has leaned on her children and friends for help. She wants to be able to do more for herself, such as filling in forms and finding employment.

“When I was working, I couldn’t find or get classes. Now, I can’t work because of an illness and the fact that I can’t read. So, I want to get help. I found out about Centacare and the Kadadjiny Bidi program through Jobsearch.”

When Diana started her class at Centacare’s Kadadjiny Bidi program, she felt anxious about her limited reading comprehension and writing skills.

“My teacher reminded me that, ‘to get through life, raise a family, shift between states, is incredibly smart to do without reading and writing.”

Diana’s teacher, Yvette Terpstra, sat next to her during every class to help Diana recognise and use sounds to read, spell, sight words and create simple sentences. Other students in the class also support her by listening to her while she reads.  Over time, Diana became more confident with her reading and writing skills.

Within months, the tailored approach has supported Diana to improve her literacy skills. She can now read the first 200 words, small stories, text messages, and simple instructions. She can also write sentences, fill in forms by herself, apply simple mathematics in real-life situations, and send replies via text message. 

The immense progress in the program has motivated Diana to continue learning. She aspires to start a small business someday and considering taking a course to become a carer in the near future.

“Centacare has good teachers”, Diana’s stated, “and is a good place to learn. It is a place you want to go back to. It is kind and friendly. Staff like Sophie, Anne and Simone treat us with respect.”

When asked about Diana’s progress in the Kadadjiny Bidi program, her teacher, Yvette Terpstra commented:

“It rarely happens for a teacher to walk beside someone who starts at the very beginning of an adult literacy journey, and it is a privilege. Diana is an inspiration to me and our class. She sits at her desk and repeatedly sounds out words before she reads and writes. Her discipline and desire to learn is amazing. I send her home with some work for the weekends. We have put apps on her tablet that she can access using QR codes for different exercises.”

“I often forget the barriers that those with literacy gaps experience but through Diana explaining how she gets by, we have been able to create learning experiences that help her be more independent. She is a remarkably generous and brave woman. She is one of many that would benefit from this type of learning. Hopefully, her story might inspire others to work past the shame and negative feelings to have another go at learning.”

For more information about Centacare’s Kadadjiny Bidi Program, visit:

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