"Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope," said Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations. We agree! As the ELI library programs continue to expand to rural villages in Malawi and Zambia, requests for adult literacy programs continue to increase. Adults with little or no formal education want the ability to read the incredible resources brought into their villages. They see their children eagerly awaiting library day and responding to the many educational activities. The parents are rejoicing because they realize that literacy is foundational to learning and provides stepping stones to relieve their poverty. One adult literacy group in Zambia has named their newly established sewing business Natusambilile meaning Let us Learn.
We believe this phrase also captures the excitement of the children in rural Malawi waiting for library day and wondering what interesting activity Ms. Grace will bring. Thank you for partnering with us, bringing hope and results to those saying, "Let us Learn.”
Let Us Learn - Zambia
The Brunelli Village Literacy class showed such determination and diligence to learn basic math and reading skills, they qualified to participate in the first ELI Zambia village banking program. After successfully planting a bean field, they were able to start several small local businesses. Together, they proudly saved enough funds to purchase one sewing machine (with the hope of purchasing another soon), sewing supplies, and pay a professional instructor to teach sewing classes. These hardworking women would appreciate your help to reach their $750 goal.
Literacy opens doors to entrepreneurship!
The Kawama Literacy class received a sewing machine and was taught basic sewing skills by Pastor Lestina, herself a retired literacy teacher instructor. The women named their sewing business Natusambilile. This theme provided the inspiration for June’s Good News. They design a variety of lovely traditional garments as well as contemporary clothing; soon they hope to make children’s school uniforms. These small businesses are vital to their communities and provide much needed income for their families.
Let Us Learn - Malawi Mobile Library
When the mobile library team arrives in the villages, the roads are thronged with children waiting to learn the alphabet, math, English, arts and crafts. The new clipboards are a much needed tool for children and adults who previously were trying to work on the ground or on a stone. Ms. Grace and Mr. Jack enjoy reading to the children, and their parents are seeing the promise and priority of education. Your gifts have made this learning possible!
Let Us Learn - Dorothy's Update
Dorothy continues to thrive as she attends a school for the deaf twice weekly with her mother and Jacob. During mobile library visits to Dima Village, Ms. Grace reinforces the sign language lessons and is astounded at Dorothy's progress.
A Mother's Prayer and Hope
As Dorothy's amazing story continues to unfold, EL Director Jacob interviewed her mother, Mrs. Masulani. He wanted us to better understand the challenges of raising a child with special needs, and what it means for Dorothy and her family to have access to education.
Dorothy's family became aware that she was deaf when she was about three years old. Dorothy did not respond to any kind of noise or when they called to her. She never called for her mother as children do.
Mrs. Masulani found it very challenging to understand how Dorothy was feeling if she was sick or when she was in need of something. Her mother longed to share with Dorothy how much she appreciated something Dorothy was doing well; both were missing heart felt words to describe their love for one another.
Caring full time for Dorothy meant Mrs. Msaulani had limited time to give attention to her other children or help her husband earn much needed income. An education for Dorothy was an impossible dream.
During the interview, Jacob said, "We (ELI) believe God was involved in making the way for Dorothy to attend school." He asked, "What does this mean to you?" She replied, "God works in different ways and it's an answered prayer. It is God's grace that He used the ELI team in Malawi and the US to connect people far away from each other. This shows that God can do anything. God makes a way where there is no way!"
Dorothy and her mother are both learning sign language together. One day, they will be able to teach others in the village making it possible for Dorothy to communicate with other family members and her neighbors. She is also learning the alphabet and writing skills, so she can communicate through writing with non-signing people. This little girl living in a world of silence and isolation is on her way to becoming a contributing member in her community. Dorothy's mother prays one day she will know and understand her prayer to a Heavenly Father that made a way where there was none.
Dorothy's opportunity to attend the deaf school in Lilongwe is funded until the end of July. ELI and Dorothy's parents hope and pray that Dorothy will have the possibility to continue her education. If this little girl's story captures your heart, please prayerfully consider a designated donation for Dorothy's schooling. Your gift will transform a little girl's life, and possibly a village! The cost per month for this life changing gift is $800.
It has been said, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Indeed, the women from the Kawama literacy group shout out with their name, Let Us Learn! That is ELI's desire, to provide libraries, literacy and educational opportunities where there are few or none. Your prayers and financial partnership allow us to respond.
"Let Us Learn"