Good News in July 2021
Libraries, literacy and educational opportunities are the heart of ELI's vision. Each strategy is needed to address the problem of illiteracy and its impact on individual lives and societies. Many international organizations have collected statistics, and they are staggering. World Literacy Foundation reports that an estimated 750 million people worldwide are unable to read a single word and more than two billion people struggle to write a sentence. For many reasons, girls in rural and underserved areas of the world are denied access to learning literacy skills (functional reading, writing and math), thus limiting their abilities to reach their God-given potential. In communities served by ELI, illiterate women determined to end the cycle of poverty in their lives, are petitioning ELI for literacy classes. This month, we share the stories of those - Waiting to Learn.
The Susu Ladies Literacy group valued their classes and they wanted to give their volunteer instructor a small stipend so she could continue teaching. Using the skills they knew and with the resources at hand, they baked scones in their traditional ovens to sell in the community. They worked hard and were soon giving their teacher a small income. Recognizing their determined efforts, ELI funded the literacy program for a year. Now with improved literacy knowledge and basic business skills, the women wanted to learn to sew in order to start a small business of making school uniforms and other simple clothing items. In January 2021, ELI funded the purchase of three treadle sewing machines and start-up supplies. Another success! The sewing class has moved from their space in the Susu Community Library to another building to accommodate future students. The sewing group desires three more sewing machines and a few more supplies. The cost is $750.
As the Susu Mobile Library program expanded, women and men in other villages formed new groups requesting literacy programs. ELI has funded one year of adult literacy programs in the villages of Brunelli and Ntasa. These learners equipped with basic literacy skills exchanged entrepreneurial ideas and want to start poultry raising projects. ELI is confident of another success story and hopes to fund this project in 2021.
Mr. Kenneth, the EL Zambia Director reports a waiting list of seven villages requesting literacy programs. He shared one day that a pastor of a remote village walked five miles to Susu. The pastor handed Mr. Kenneth a small piece of crumpled paper with 15 names of adults in his village who wanted to learn to read and write. Mr. Kenneth assured him that as soon as God provides, a class would begin. The pastor returned to his village with this good news and hope.
Malawian proverb: "Educate a girl, educate a nation."
Although the new mobile library program is only eight months old, each visit sees an increase in the number of children waiting for the ELI team to teach new skills and share interesting stories. Jacob, the EL Malawi Director is especially encouraged to see many girls of all ages participating and asking for books to read. Many parents cannot afford even the small cost of a notebook and pencils so their children can attend school. If there is a difficult choice to be made between educating their boys or girls, it is usually the boys who will attend school. Early marriage is common and often the only option for uneducated girls. Jacob says, "The girls are so enjoying reading books of every subject. They are inspired and want to attend school; they have a dream for their future!"
Kathrine is a pre-school director and an important member of the EL Malawi team. She enjoys planning Library Day activities and delight's in the children's progress as they learn the alphabet, color for the first time, or complete puzzles. She personally knows the power of literacy and education. She was an illiterate widow and mother of four children without any means to support herself and her family. By hard work and the grace of God, she was able to attend literacy classes and soon read novels to her classmates. Her journey from illiteracy to directing a preschool and joining the ELI team is an inspiration to the girls and women she meets on Library Day visits.
Read Kathrine's story in May 2020 Good News.
Establishing additional adult literacy programs in Malawi and Zambia is a high priority for ELI. Early education can be interrupted by a variety of reasons in these rural areas, leaving very few work options and a lifetime of poverty. Without literacy, your world becomes very small, a mind and imagination stagnates, remaining uncultivated and unchallenged. Without literacy, the spirit hungers to read the Word of God. We hope your hearts are touched by the stories our directors have shared. Your regular monthly support or one time gift will support literacy programs for those Waiting to Learn.
Please view our updated website for additional information about our vision and programs and be sure to check out the Be Involved tab.
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ELI is grateful for the opportunity to serve individuals and communities in need of libraries, literacy and the hope of the gospel. Thanks for partnering with us!