Thank you from ALTA!

Thank you from ALTA!

i Dec 31st No Comments by

As we take stock of our blessings and reminisce on a very challenging year, we know that we have much to be thankful for. We would like to take this opportunity to send New Year’s greetings to and thank all the individuals and companies who have contributed generously to Alta and our vision of bringing positive social change through improved literacy.

Firstly to our volunteer tutors, our class coordinators, Regional Coordinators and National Coordinator Lystra Hazarie, we thank you for going above and beyond for our ALTA students. This past year was a true test of your calibre as the pandemic threw out a major challenge with the closing of all classrooms on Friday 13 March.

But you persevered and wrestled with the obstacles and new learning involved in virtual Alta teaching to ensure that as many students as possible had almost uninterrupted instruction. You showed in exemplary fashion the commitment and dedication that has brought you respect and high regard among both students and staff.

Secondly, to our sponsors, both individuals and companies who continued to support ALTA despite the many competing needs in this difficult year, we are most grateful! ALTA has come to rely on the regular contributions of individuals who give either $600/year to sponsor an ALTA student or an open donation through a deed of covenant.

Our main corporate sponsors deserve specific mention:

  • Republic Bank Sponsorship of Alta classes, Reading Circles and software development for ALTA Online. This commitment got ALTA Online to users in 2020 just when it was most needed when in-person institutions of learning were shut down.
  • National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Funding for the I Am ALTA literacy awareness and student registration campaign along with the ALTA Online pilot was critical to bring ALTA-V and ALTA Online to those with literacy challenges.
  • Bermudez Biscuit Company Limited An annual donation helps keep our three offices and our programmes running. Sponsorship of NALIS/ALTA Youth Lit brings the ALTA literacy programme to teens and pre-teens.
  • Fernandes Foundation provided a capacity-building grant.
  • Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited has sponsored the ALTA Couva class for many years and in January 2020, also selected ALTA’s tutor training programme for their Gift to the Nation. This enabled ALTA to develop a new virtual tutor training programme which comprised three separate delivery modes: ALTA Online tutor Training Book; ALTA tutor training videos – How to Teach an ALTA lesson; Zoom training led by a facilitator for a mixed group of 6-7 new and experienced tutors.
  • Price Philanthropies, Charlett & Gatcliffe, Southern Wholesale Stores, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, Trinity Exploration, Rotary Club of Maracas/St Joseph, Trinidad Offshore Fabrication Company (TOFCO) supported ALTA/ALTA-V classes, the core work of ALTA.

We also wish to thank our staff and the key members of the ALTA Online team. ALTA Online would not have reached literacy learners in 2020 without the pro bono effort of two experts: application support engineer Sylvia Clarke and New York based software developer Matthew Williams. Both Sylvia and Matthew provide essential expertise that ALTA cannot afford. They have shown a remarkable dedication to making ALTA Online work, giving countless hours of their very valuable time and often working into the wee hours of the morning. Along with software developer Jovaughn Smith, Sylvia and Matthew have lead and guided the small team of OJT trainees to make the dream of ALTA Online a reality.

Our thanks also go to all who took the time to like, comment and share our social media content. You have been instrumental in allowing us to continue raising awareness of literacy as a skill and reducing the stigma attached to low literacy.

To the editors at the Trinidad Guardian newspapers, we are appreciative of your continued support in having our articles published every Thursday.

We look forward to the New Year which will be a big year for ALTA with the launch of ALTA Online. Happy New Year to all our readers!

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor, joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT

Have yourself an ALTA Christmas!

i Dec 17th No Comments by

As we come to the end of our “Behind the Brand” series, ALTA takes this opportunity to thank all of our readers for engaging with us. Bringing the issue of adult literacy to the fore to ensure that our students receive the quality instruction they seek remains ALTA’s core business. Our 2020 accomplishments on this front would not have been possible without our supporters, in time or treasure, and the invaluable contributions of the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes. 

We also publicly acknowledge and thank our volunteer tutors, regional coordinators, sponsors, ALTA messengers and everyone who took the time to share our content with family and friends both near and far. 

To your family from
ours – Have yourself a very Merry Christmas!

Joanne Philip – Programme Manager

In my role as
Programme Manager, I have the pleasure of working closely with an outstanding
group of volunteers. You, our tutors, coordinators, regional coordinators and
reading circle guides who continue to help our students to achieve their
literacy goals.

During this
unprecedented time, you readily adapted to new methods and applications in a
seamless transition from in-person to virtual classes. Many of you started out
as novices and emerged as experts surpassing your own expectations.

separated by thousands of miles or recovering from the effects of Covid 19 ‒ these hurdles were not a
deterrent to your service. I appreciate your commitment, I applaud your passion
and I admire your resilience. 

To all volunteers, past and present, ALTA continues to ‘Stand Tall’ because of your selfless service!

Have a Wonderful
Christmas. Stay Safe.  Our mission
continues in 2021.

Nicole Pichery – Office Manager, San Fernando

I found out about ALTA in 2016 and was trained and became a tutor in 2017. I have taught Beginners for three years. I enjoyed being a tutor, but truly understanding what ALTA did only became clear when I joined the ALTA team as the Office Manager at our South location in 2018. Two realities about the organization quickly stood out to me – service and commitment.

It became clear that
the tutors that walked through the doors of the office were there to serve, to
give to their students selflessly. This made a great impact upon me, and I knew
that it was my responsibility to ensure that they received the best service
when they came to the office.

In serving our tutors, I came to understand that the heart of ALTA is its tutors and the heart of our tutors are our students. Working for an NGO where everything that we do is focused on helping others achieve goals to make their lives better is a blessing. I was deeply moved by our tutors’ willingness to embrace the challenges that the pandemic brought to our doors. Without missing a step our tutors continued to work to meet our students’ needs to ensure they continue their learning online.

This will stay with me for as long as I live, as a true example of selfless giving, commitment and service. I encourage anyone with a passion to serve and to give back to others to join us. “May the light of Christ burn brightly in your life as it does in mine this Christmas season, and may you always experience his infinite love and everlasting peace.” Merry Christmas!

Lilian Ramsaroop – Mid-East Regional

“Service to man is service to God”, a quote from Swami Vivekananda. ALTA tutors serve by guiding their students on their path to literacy as a result empowering them to face the world with confidence.

Our students come to us with only hope. Their perseverance and commitment together with our tutors’ dedication and knowledge of ALTA’s methods and approaches turn that hope into reality – the reality of being able to read and write.

Let us all have hope
for a better world and future after the eradication of Covid-19. I wish
everyone a Merry Christmas and a heart full of hope.

“Stand Tall… We are

If you or someone you know is
interested in becoming a tutor, joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call
624-2582 or email

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT

I am ALTA: Behind the Brand

i Dec 10th No Comments by

“Behind the Brand” continues this week with a very special team. The men and women on this team have probably exceeded every expectation that they may have had for 2020 and their role at ALTA. In the midst of a heavy workload and tight schedule to ensure that the ALTA Online is live and ready for our users, they made the time to share their story.

Ariston Sutherland – Information Systems Manager

Hi. Many people who come into the office or otherwise interact with ALTA never get to meet or see me. I am one of those staff who toils for hours after countless hours in the back-office, never seeing the light of day; physically whipped into shape whenever productivity drops a smidgen. We’re often told that the beatings will stop when morale improves.

All jokes aside, I do perform a role that isn’t very public facing: I’m ALTA’s Information Systems Manager. Basically, I ensure that the everyday tools our hardworking staff and tutors use to organise, co-ordinate and deliver projects and activities are appropriate from a cost and usability perspective. I also ensure that these resources are available for use and that staff is appropriately trained.

So who am I really? Well, don’t tell anybody but I’m Batman! Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen Batman and I in the same place at the same time? Thought so. I rest my case!

It’s quite rewarding to be a part of an organisation that is making a lifelong difference in thousands of lives; in making a significant improvement in those lives and opening doors that would otherwise have been forever shut. To be honest, I’m not sure even Batman would have such an effect.

Jovaugh Smith – Web Developer

Hey there! My name is Jovaughn Smith and I’m part of the software development team at ALTA for almost two years now. We’ve been working on replicating the experience of an ALTA classroom in an online environment.

At times, the work can be difficult, but it’s exciting to create tools that help people live a fulfilling life. Education has always been one of my keen interests and so ALTA has become a fitting home to me. Maybe someday you’ll pass by the library and see me hunched over my laptop. In that case, don’t be a stranger.

Join us next week for more features!

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor, joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT

I am ALTA: Behind the Brand

i Dec 3rd No Comments by

As we continue our
“Behind the Brand” series, meet two members of ALTA’s administrative support
team – Sally and Clarissa. Sally joined Alta a few years after we opened our
Belmont office and Clarissa has just joined us.

Sally Cassim – Administrative Officer

I have been truly blessed to be a part of ALTA over the past 17 years,
where I get to work with a great team whose mission is to improve our students
reading and writing skills. For me, this is very rewarding in so many ways that
words cannot explain.

As the Administrative Officer at the Belmont office, I have many duties
but a key responsibility is conducting the tutor recruitment process. I
respond to queries from persons interested in becoming volunteer tutors,
schedule interviews for these individuals and facilitate their onboarding
process as an ALTA volunteer tutor. This allows me to get to know our tutors
from their first interaction with ALTA.

I also manage the two collections in the ALTA library at the Belmont

       Reference Library This
has books on literacy with a specific focus on adult literacy. It includes
reports and studies on adult literacy, books on Caribbean language, learning
materials from UK, US, Canadian, Grenadian adult literacy programmes, as well
as several international journals. 

     Reading Circle Collection This
was created specifically for Alta students who have benefitted from classroom
instruction and now need to practise the skills learnt. We have a range of
Caribbean and international easy readers from beginner to Level 3 written to
cater to adult and teen interests. I manage the loans to Reading Circle Guides
for use in their Reading Circle with students.

Clarissa Weekes – Receptionist

Hi, my name is Clarissa and I have been with ALTA since August 2020.
Joining the team in a sort of awkward time as we work remotely, weirdly enough
helped me feel more comfortable. I started this job the week after my CAPE
exams ended, so this remote period has given me time to adjust as well as
experience the different personalities on the team in a non-traditional way.

In my capacity as Receptionist at the Belmont office, I have the
opportunity of being the welcoming face to tutors and students, as well as
interacting with each team member and seeing how they work together like a well-oiled
machine. Even in the face of this new normal, everyone is dedicated and
willing. I’m excited to contribute my perspective and even gain an ounce of the
perseverance that the ALTA team has!

As a team member, I am able to get a taste of all that ALTA has to offer.
From interacting with different staff members, tutors, students and the
everyday person who just wants to know a little more about us. I too, before
joining the team, had a curiosity as to what ALTA was all about. Having gone to
primary school a street away, I would get my taxis right in front of the
Belmont office and I would see people going and coming and I wondered how ALTA
did what they do.

Now that I am a part of the team, it almost feels like a full circle
encounter where I am experiencing firsthand the passion that we have for
literacy and our students. I was even surprised that these services are offered
freely when I see the work that goes into creating a workbook for our various
students. As well as the fact that all of our tutors are volunteers!

It has since occurred to me that we are not only helping persons to
achieve their literacy goals, but facilitating a personal experience which
needs to be done delicately and comprehensively.

I am ALTA because we are not just an organization, but we are curators of
a community.

 “Stand Tall… I am ALTA”

The features continue next week!

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor,
joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

Keep up to date with Alta on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:
Alta TT