By Melissa Paredes
Many of us in the Western world forget that literacy is a privilege — one that many people across the world don’t experience. Learning to read and write is a skill that opens doors to countless education and career opportunities, as well as direct access to the Word of God. Yet many have never even had the opportunity to learn how to write their own name.
That’s why literacy classes are so crucial, and are one way that Wycliffe desires to bring hope to communities. Without this foundation, written Scriptures won’t be able to touch the hearts and lives of those receiving God’s Word in their language for the first time.
In a community in Bangladesh, an adult literacy class is opening new opportunities as students learn to read and write in Bangla, the national language of the country.
Prior to attending the literacy course, many of the adults had never had the opportunity to hold a pencil or a book. Now they are not only holding pencils, but also learning to write! And they are learning how to read books so that they can continue to expand their knowledge.
Photo by Zeke du Plessis
Many had also never learned to write their name, so they had to use their fingerprint as their signature on legal documents. Now, they’re able to sign documents with confidence.
Around 25 people, from the ages of 20 to 50, are participating in the literacy program, which lasts for eight months.
Everyone has a different reason for joining the group. For some it’s the chance to finish their childhood education; for others it’s the first classroom opportunity they’ve had in their life. One woman shared, “Now I can count out the amount, pay bills and take change from the shopkeeper.”
Whatever their past educational background, this is a great opportunity for them to sit in a class and learn these valuable new skills.
Many work hard throughout the day before coming to class in the evening. It’s a big commitment, but they want to keep learning. They tell their instructors, “We want to learn more, not stop here. Please don’t leave us.” Despite the challenges, their interest has helped them continue, and all are making progress.
As the adults learn how to read better, they’re able to delve into deeper topics relevant to their community. The books they read also help them learn interesting stories to tell their children, and now parents are growing more confident in helping their children with reading and writing assignments from school.
As these adults learn valuable literacy skills, attitudes are changing. More and more people are seizing the opportunity to take literacy classes, and access to these classes is helping these adults take further steps in developing their communities, and even their country.
Literacy offers a chance to change a life, bring hope, and open the door to a new world of opportunities. But most importantly, it gives people the opportunity to learn how to read the Scriptures— the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive. There is hope found through written words, and this community is experiencing that firsthand.
Read Full Post »