The Downtown Eastside (DTES) Literacy Roundtable is a coalition of adult educators working in the DTES. Literacy is not a binary between illiterate and literate, but, rather, a spectrum. Reading, writing and numeracy are only part of literacy, but they are tools that open up opportunities to learn and engage more in their daily lives to help eliminate social exclusion. The Roundtable is coordinated by one part-time staff person and is funded by DECODA Literacy Solutions.

The Downtown Eastside (DTES) is a dynamic, vibrant, low-income Vancouver neighborhood. Also known as the “heart of the city”, the DTES has historically been a hub of rich cultural life. In the eyes and words of the people living here this a community of enormous strenght, cohesion and activity.

Low literacy levels and structural barriers to education have profoundly negative effects on opportunities to participate in democratic society, contributing to deepened social exclusion (Shalla & Schellenberg, 1998, p.9). More so, fewer than 20% of people with the lowest literacy skills in Canada are employed (Canadian Literacy and Learning Network, 2012). It is extremely difficult to increase social inclusion in marginalized urban community without addressing literacy.

The group has been collaborating since 2006 to share skills, ideas, support and information.

In 2010, the Roundtable organized a community literacy plan wich they continue to upgrade annually and implement. You may access the plan, the updated reports and read more about our vision, goals and action planĀ  visiting the website or contacting dtes.loc@gmail.com.