Amadou is a musician living and working in Bath. Originally from Senegal, Amadou moved to England in 2004 and has been forging his path as a multi-instrumentalist and singer, touring and releasing several albums.
Throughout his musical career, Amadou has been holding a secret – that he couldn’t read or write. Now, with the help of local organisation Read Easy Bath, Amadou is learning to read and is already finding it life-changing.
Amadou didn’t learn to read as a child. He left school at ‘eight or ten’ when he learned tailoring skills so he could work at the local market and help support his family, after the death of his mother. Alongside this, he taught himself multiple instruments including the drums and guitar.
In England, he learned to play the African harp or kora and released his first album in 2012 and realised that learning to read and write would help him progress his career. He tried various approaches, but it was only with the help of Sarah, a volunteer reading coach with Read Easy Bath, that things have finally come together and he is learning to read. Read Easy Bath is a voluntary group offering free one-to-one coaching for adults who want to learn to read. When touring and other commitments allow, Amadou and Sarah meet for half an hour twice a week in Bath Central Library.
Amadou said, ‘It was difficult at first. Sarah helped me to gain confidence and feel more comfortable. She made it easy to understand. It is hard work. My head is tired at the end of each thirty-minute session but I can see the difference each week.’
Amadou has completed the first book in the reading scheme and is onto book two. He is now able to read and write emails and texts. With Sarah’s help he was able to write an invoice and attach it to an email so that he could get paid for a gig. He is excited about learning and becoming more independent. In the longer term, Amadou hopes to write his life story, maybe as a film script.
Sarah says that volunteering with Read Easy Bath has been a great experience. ‘The support you get as a coach is very strong. It is easy to know that you are making progress as you advance through the book and tackle new words. It’s wonderful to see Amadou’s progress from week to week.’
Amadou’s advice to anyone in the same situation is, ‘Try to learn. Don’t be shy!’
Read Easy Bath is currently looking for more learners and more volunteers in a variety of roles. They especially want to find another co-ordinator to expand their current team of two. Co-ordinators match readers with coaches and keep an eye on how they are doing.
Read Easy is a charity with groups across the UK, who are passionate about transforming lives in the community through a proven, confidential programme of free, one-to-one, volunteer-led adult reading coaching. It is estimated that 2.4 million adults in England alone struggle with reading. Not being able to read means that even carrying out everyday tasks can be very challenging, if not impossible.
Read Easy Bath was officially launched in December 2020, has a management group of 10 volunteers and 2 coordinators who assess learners and match them with volunteer coaches. We currently have thirteen learners paired with coaches and a bank of trained volunteers who are ready to start coaching.
Read Easy Bath is keen to find more learners. Coaching is free. If you are an agency who might be able to put us in touch with potential readers, or you or someone you know would like to find out more, please contact David Hassard, our Reader Finder at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07976 160838.
We are also looking for another co-ordinator to expand our current team of two. Co-ordinators match readers with coaches and keep an eye on how they are doing. It is a rewarding role, which requires a commitment of one or two days a week (with hours spread over the week). There are a number of other roles within Read Easy Bath. I