Founding Story

It began in the summer of 2010 by doing a library tour to promote a children’s book, “But Johnny Didn’t Hear Me”, written and illustrated by Gillian Rowe and Faith Millington respectively. Joined by Jamila Walton, who assisted with the readings that summer, the three university students quickly discovered that the reading sessions allowed children to experience books in a new way and during that summer, a spark was lit within them. They listened to the needs of the children and their cry for a community of persons who would read and nurture their curiosity. 


Since then, the group’s passion has grown deeper and wider for their home, Barbados, and the Caribbean region. The literacy foundation of youth has been neglected, resulting in many lacking the necessary skills to reach their full potential. In recognising this, Read For Life’s primary aim is to raise and maintain the literacy skills of its participants. We strive to craft projects and programmes that provide immediate help with volunteer support, and partnerships which enable us to make literacy accessible to all.

Meet the Team

- Jamila Walton, Co- Founder 

Jamila is currently working in an administrative capacity at a global Insurance company. She takes the life approach that there is always something you can learn from every job that can be applied to another. Jamila has received formal project management training which enables her to lead various projects.

- Gillian Rowe, Co-Founder

Gillian is an experienced programme coordinator running projects for over 10 years in Barbados, St.Vincent and Dominica. Building a strong vision and charting small steps, are the parallels she believes will help reach larger goals. She is the author of the silver award-winning children’s book ‘But Johnny Didn’t Hear Me’.

Jalisa, a secondary school educator, became involved with Read For Life nine years ago, volunteering with the various programmes they led. She is enthusiastic about contributing to the development of literacy in Barbados and beyond. One of her favourite life quotes is “Live and laugh, but most importantly, love”. 

- Jalisa Josiah, Project Lead