Literacy brings an incredible freedom to women in South Asia; helping them to take care of their families, not be cheated at the marketplace, and be able to read the Bible for themselves – Gospel for Asia
As an avid reader, I can’t imagine not being able to read. It is one of my favorite things to do. I loved reading since I was a child. It led to my other favorite thing–writing. Being able to read and write can really make a difference. You can read books, study the Bible, write letters, read recipes, directions, the labels on products in the grocery store and write checks. These are things that most of us can do but in South Asia, more than 30% of the women are unable to because of illiteracy.
Imagine that you are illiterate and have no opportunity for an education. Imagine the struggles you face as you try to make ends meet while your husband spends your earnings on alcohol. This was Dayita’s reality. She came from a village where few girls received an education. Being illiterate left her with very few options. She began sewing clothing to ease her family’s financial situation. Her husband Kaamil deposited her earnings in the bank but she was horrified when she found out that he was withdrawing her money so that he could buy alcohol. Desperate, Dayita found someone to help her to open her own bank account but managing it proved to be very difficult because she couldn’t read or write. She was unable to fill out the deposit and withdrawal forms. She had to rely on others to help her.
God is our refuge and strength, a very presenthelp in trouble – Psalm 46:1
God saw that Dayita needed help and He intervened. He sent Ashna and Neha, believers from the local Women’s Fellowship to start a literacy class in Dayita’s area. Dayita began attending the sessions because she was determined to keep her hard-earned money safe. To her surprise, Kaamil supported her. Ashna taught two hour classes on reading and writing from a Bible based curriculum. Within two months, Dayita could read and write enough to fill out her bank forms. She is able to deposit and withdraw money on her own now. She is able to get around because she can read the names of buses and bus stations. Thanks to the ministry of Ashna and Neha, Dayita is learning about Jesus and starting to believe in Him.
Thanks be to God, who sees all and knows all and is every ready to help those who are in need, Dayita can enjoy the freedom that literacy brings. Knowing how to read and write, she doesn’t have to depend on others for help. She can go to the bank and do a transaction any time she wants. She can travel without worrying about getting lost. She can also enjoy the freedom that knowing Jesus brings.
If you are interested in helping other women like Dayita, find out how at this link. Help to free the women of South Asia from the yoke of illiteracy.
“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.” ― Kofi Annan
Tuesday, September 8, 2015 was an important day for lots of parents and their children. It was an important day for my family. It was my son’s first day back to school. This year he will be in grade 2 . It was wonderful seeing parents and their kids filing into the school. The halls were crowded and noisy as we squeezed our way to the gym where the children were to line up before heading to the auditorium for the greeting and morning prayer. As I looked at the children in their uniforms, I thought of how what a blessing it is to be able to go to school.
September 8 was an important day for another reason. It was International Literacy Day, a day first proclaimed as such on November 17, 1965 by UNESCO. It was first celebrated in 1966 and its objective has always been to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. The theme for this year was Literacy and Sustainable Societies and the Day marked the 50th anniversary of the World Congress of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy. It is a day when the world is reminded of how important learning is.
International Literacy Day gives children and communities a chance to rediscover the joys of reading while raising awareness for those without access to education.
Can you imagine being a mother and unable to read your child’s school report or help him with his homework because you can’t read or write? What if you couldn’t read the Bible or a bedtime story to your child or a Mother’s Day or birthday card? Sadly, there are women in South Asia who can’t read or write. Can you believe that over 30% of Asian women are illiterate? In fact, more than one out of every three women in Asia are illiterate!
There is hope, thanks to Gospel for Asia’s Literacy Program. Through literacy classes held by GFA supported local Women’s Fellowships, women are learning how to read, write, do basic math, some of life’s most basic lessons, and, most importantly, they are learning how to read and study God’s Word on their own. What a joy it must be to be able to read about a loving God and a Savior who gave His life for them. And better yet, they can read to their children.
So women volunteered to teach literacy classes to other women. The program expanded into several states and two countries, so a standardized curriculum was developed.
In this day and age, it is hard to believe that there are so many people who still cannot read or write. Last year, Gospel for Asia supported the work of missionaries who saw International Literacy Day as an opportunity to raise awareness of the value of women’s literacy and to share the Gospel.
I rejoice at Yourword As one who finds great treasure – Psalm 119:162
Do you want to bring hope to women by helping to make it possible for them to read and study God’s Word? Find out how you can do so here. Reading and writing are basic necessities of life that everyone should have. Women who learn how to read, write and do basic Math will be able to provide for their families. You will be helping a woman to keep her children safe because she can read the warning labels or from being cheated at the marketplace because she knows basic Math. Think of how different your life would be if you couldn’t read your Bible, recipes, emails or letters. Then think of the freedom you enjoy from being literate and how you can help to liberate these women too.
Literacy is not a luxury, it is a right and a responsibility. If our world is to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century we must harness the energy and creativity of all our citizens – President Bill Clinton on International Literacy Day, September 8th 1994
I can’t imagine not being able to read. It’s my one of favourite past-times. When I was a child, you could always find me with my face buried in a book. My love for reading gave birth to my love for writing.
Reading and writing are basic rights which we are entitled to. Imagine not being able to write your name or read warning labels in order to protect your child. Yet, sadly for over 250 million women in Asia illiteracy is a reality.
It is said that when a girl or a woman is not educated it impacts her but the entire family. Illiterate women face more hardships and are not aware of their rights. Literacy is low among women because in most families the boys are sent to schools instead of the girls. It is believed that educating the girls would be a waste of time because they aren’t going to earning members of their families and they would be leaving home any way when they get married. Poverty, accessibility to the schools and lack of female teachers are also factors in the low literacy rate among women and girls.
Education is exactly what females in India need in order to break the cycle of poverty. Find out what Gospel for Asia is doing to help by women and girls through their Literacy Program at this link: http://www.gfa.org/women/literacy/.