Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Climbing Ladders to Literacy

Alice Chikavumbwa and her husband Benzes Mendulo Chikavumbwa from Njema village are a couple taking part in the Women Empowerment Project. Being both illiterate they joined the Adult Literacy class. However he left school for casual labour in town hence was unable to consistently attend the lessons. The wife continued with the lessons and is now able to write the alphabet letters. She says that the husband is behind her success because he encourages her to attend lessons. Mr. Benzes is encouraging other men to allow their wives to attend classes because he says he has come to understand that educating a woman is key to development at both household and community levels. She is now able to help her grand child who is in Standard (Grade) One with alphabet home work.
On the same note, Simon Mukota, a 68 year old CBO member from Namijingo village says: “Am a proud man! I no longer sign using my thumb. I am able to write my name. I have discovered the beauty of holding a pen and write on my own.” He joined the Adult literacy class which is being facilitated by ADRA Women Empowerment Project with funding from Sweden. He explains that during his childhood he did not have opportunity to attend school. His parents passed away in Mozambique when he was very young. He then moved to Malawi and was raised up by his relatives who did not encourage him to attend school. As a little boy he started working in the tea estates with no opportunity to education. He became a man without knowing even how to write his name. “Life becomes more exciting in reading and writing. The fact that I can read the bible is the most precious gift in my adulthood. Thank you ADRA for empowering us” says Mr. Mukota. This has brought a new life in this family comprising of a wife, children and three orphans. He got motivation from his wife who had some basic education during her childhood hence she is able to read and write. Though the class in his community comprises mainly of women, (15 women 1 man) Mukota is willingly working hand in hand with them in all development work and encouraging his family and other community members to consider educating themselves and children for a brighter future.

It has been noted that Adult literacy is the key to women empowerment leading to community empowerment. The women empowerment initiatives have created a conducive environment for men to appreciate and be able to discuss gender and human rights issues in forums like the one in the picture above.

Author: Andyiesa Mahango
Project Manager
Women Empowerment Project
ADRA Sweden and Swedish Government funded project

No comments: