Since so much of daily life in rural Ethiopia focuses on subsistence, children (especially female children) are typically kept at home to help support their families and are not allowed the “luxury” of educational opportunities. This has resulted in a total adult literacy rate in Ethiopia of only 39%, which means that 61% of all Ethiopian adults are unable to read and write.
Unfortunately, literacy opportunities for adult females in Ethiopia are extremely scarce. What educational classes are available do not teach basic literacy skills; they are basic informational classes that depend on the participant already knowing how to read. Further, these classes take place at night, when most women are busy caring for their families or working.
Hope for Eternity’s classes function differently. The literacy teacher at each site establishes the class time around participants’ schedules, often meeting very early in the morning, before the start of the workday.
Further, Hope for Eternity makes no requirements of its literacy class participants. Our classes begin with the very basics and assume no literacy knowledge on the parts of participants.
And our classes are completely free to any interested woman, of any religious background, age, or ethnic group. Occasionally, even men will request to participate in classes, which we also allow (although the classes are primarily geared toward women).
Besides enabling women to function more successfully in their homes and communities, Hope for Eternity literacy classes are helping break family cycles of illiteracy. When women are able to read, they can fill out school paperwork for their children and eventually help their children with their schoolwork.
Many mothers in our literacy classes have recounted how helpless they used to feel when their children would bring home schoolwork or letters from the school and they were unable to read them. Now, their helplessness has been transformed to pride, as these mothers have learned to read and been cheered on in their efforts by their excited children. Mothers are showing their kids firsthand how very important literacy is and how committed they are to education, a commitment that will positively change the family’s trajectory for generations.
If you would like to help fund this valuable project, book costs are $2 per student and $65 a month for the teacher’s salary. Currently, we have more churches requesting literacy classes than we are able to fund, so any contribution you can make toward this effort would be greatly appreciated.