From a distance you hear the Chichewa words echoing through the village, “Utumiki wa Azimai” (Stand up women – let us grow)! Then a lot of laughter as dance and song breaks loose for the next 30 minutes. Every Thursday is a very special event. It is a time where pots and water cans are put down …. – when the villages come together for their weekly highlight: literacy class. Here everyone has but one desire …. and that is to read the Bible and learn how to do it by learning to read and write. Something we take for granted anywhere else. Poverty, a lack of schools in the area …… and a total inability to read or write brings women together from various villages. In fact …. 2 500 women gather every Thursday in various villages to learn how to read and write. They vary from very young to elderly ladies who has grabbed the opportunity to read and write. It is simply amazing to see woman in their late 60’s and 70’s join classes eagerly waiting to learn how to read and write. It is a project that has been running the last 10 years with amazing results.
A LOVE LETTER … FRESH FROM THE BUSH
Here is a letter specially written which we received a few days ago:
The students at Chitengu 2 Women school are appreciating you madam for the great work you have done.
Our Women Literacy school for the elderly has reduced the number of people who do not know how to write and read. Our Literacy School for Women also help some people to search verses they like from the Bible on their own. Here at our bush village in Chitengu 2 people are happy indeed because they are now able to read the Bible on their own while in ancient days they were depending on others to read for them.
The problems which we are facing here are as follows. The FIRST problem is a shortage of school materials such as:
- A5 Exercise books
- Ballpoint pens
The SECOND problem is unskilled teachers (unqualified leaders). Teachers should be trained in order to gain a special teaching skill. Our last problem is transportation and the lack of bicycles to get to the villages and schools.
I as the teacher of the Women Literacy School at Chitengu 2 – I thank God for giving you this kid of life, that you are providing free education for elders. I also always am praying for you that almighty God may give you an abundant life so that you can continue assisting other sleeping people to be awake.
Lastly receive greetings from members of all our Women Literacy schools at Chitengu 2. may God bless you and the family.
It is letters like these that truly makes the effort worthwhile. We are currently in desperate shortage of Chichewa Bibles and stationary (as well as bicycles) to assist the woman in their literacy efforts. This is a program that runs free of charge and all 2500 women are volunteers – not one paid staff member. They have taken the vision to learn to read and write which would enable them to read the BIBLE – their biggest dream. We have trained many women over the last 10 years to read and write. Their lives changed for the better. Not just for themselves but their children and grand children too.
God bless you!