Thursday, December 11, 2014

Empowered . . .

Adult literacy programs have played a major role in empowering communities, especially women. I remember my school days when the adult literacy program was in its pinnacle in Kerala.  For some reason, it is quite some time since I’ve heard about adult literacy campaigns.

At Kachhwa Christian Hospital, we have an adult literacy program catering to women from the nearby villages. A small group . . . but the impact this effort has brought to their families is massive.

Couple of weeks back, we had the ‘graduation ceremony’ of the first batch of the adult literacy classes.

Urmila, Malti, Nirmala, Urmila, Savita, Chunni, Kanti and Susheela with their certificates.
Standing behind is Mrs. Surekha
One of the students, Mrs. Chunni narrated how she was regularly cheated when she went for shopping. The shop-keepers used to quote more than the Maximum Retail Price printed on the purchased item. After she learnt to read, she narrated about an incident where she took the shop-keeper to task for quoting higher price for an item that she had purchased.

It was not without a remorse that the shopkeeper said,’ So, you’ve learnt to read?’

Again Chunni’s daughter narrated how she used to cheat on her mother regarding completing her home work. Now, that Chunni knows to read and write, there is more discipline in her daughter’s studies.

We had recently been discussing about expanding the program. As of now, the program happens in the hospital campus. A teacher can teach a maximum of 6 people for about 4 hours a day. Considering that the students are adults, they are not able to come for more than 2 or 3 times a week.

The adult literacy program is being led by Mrs. Surekha Kamble, a teacher from Maharashtra. Surekha, who has a masters in science and  a bachelors in education. Although she has ten years of teaching experience in schools, she finds it quite satisfying when she realises the impact she had brought about in the families of these women.

Dr. Raju Abraham, evaluating a adult literacy class.
The next batch has since started. Please pray for the efforts being put in by Mrs. Surekha and her team of teachers, Arti, Priti, Poonam and Guddoos. It is not easy. Considering into the fact that none of these ladies have been exposed to any sort of education, they need personalised care.Considering the intensive coaching that is required, we are not able to take more than 10 students in a batch.

We need more teachers like Mrs. Surekha who would be able to spend their careers in bringing about beacons of hope to many families. 

3 comments:

  1. What a great program. I just finished reading "I am Malala," and she talks about how her uneducated aunt died after going to a quack for medical treatment and that it might not have happened had her aunt been less susceptible. Women usually are responsible for running households and keeping everyone in them as healthy as possible, so teaching them to read benefits the whole family.

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