This year WGEF has provided over 100 women with the opportunity to learn basic reading and writing skills. One of unseen benefits of this program is the difference it makes in the lives of the participants and their families. When I had the opportunity to sit in on a class, I was inspired by the sisterhood, joy, and environment of learning and empowerment. This is not merely a 'class' but a life changing endeavor where women are encouraged, supported, and celebrated!
Poverty is the result of inequality in multiple spheres; WGEF is committed to providing clients the tools to address these inequalities and advocate for themselves, families and communities. One of cornerstones of this commitment is offering women the chance to learn basic reading and writing skills.
Our clients lives are challenging, everyday women are providing and caring for their families; often times walking long distances to get water, cooking fuel, and medical care. They are running business, participating in their communities, rebuilding their lives after conflict and all day on Saturday they are attending classes with their friends, colleagues and sisters. It is a 'day off' from the normal everyday challenges. They are offered lunch, eat and share together...this is critical as they recover their lives after a long and brutal conflict.
Our program for 2014 ends in early November, and one of culminating events is our drama festival where literacy students participate and can speak to the public. This is a life changing event, empowerment women to speak out, using the confidence they have obtained by the literacy program.
We cannot provide these opportunities without your support, and on behalf of the 104 women we served this year, thank you! Please continue to support WGEF and all of programs; together we can help women address inequality and acheive a brighter future.
"Microcredit alone, without social development programming, is limited in its ability to alleviate poverty. Poverty is a multifaceted issue and must be addressed within this context. Microfinance is not a panacea but a powerful tool that when bundled with social programming, can give women and their families increased control over their lives". - K Sugar
This is the philosophy of WGEF, and the basis of the Credit Plus model. Since the beginning, 2008, we have offered a literacy training program. To date we have had over 650 participate, and with the new year beginning in February, that number will increase to over 750! While we would like to expand the program, funding continues to be an issue, prohibiting us increasing capacity this year.
This program plays an intergral role for women recovering and rebuilding their lives in a post conflict region. Our clients are formerly abducted persons, child soldiers, sex slaves, and IDP's; they missed out on the opportunity to receive even a basic education and desire to learn. Understanding that literacy will help them in all aspects of their lives, business, personal, enabling women to communicate with their community leaders, people in authority, customers etc.
It also creates a powerful feeling of accomplishment, self esteem, and confidence. Thru this empowering program, we have had several women go on to run for public office, become advocates and leaders in their communities. Our goal is to provide meaninful and relevant programming, enabling women to be a force for rebuilding their lives and communities.
Our literacy program this year has 59 participants at the basic level, and 45 at level two instruction. This is the second year we have been able to offer two levels, and are hoping to include 50 additional women over the next few months. The trainings are twice weekly at several community centers, making it easier for women to attend. We also provide a meal, beverages, and child care for one child on Saturdays.
We hope you are inspired and continue to support this critical program, creating a brighter, more secure future for women and families.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The first time I sat in on our literacy program in 2008, the women were singing and chanting Mandela's name. At that time I was still learning about Africa, it's history and political landscape, the culture; what I quickly learned was that Nelson Mandela was an important figure for all of Africa. His courage and commitment to his fellow Africans serves as an inspiration and continued light as to what is possible.
The answers for Africa, and northern Uganda, will come from Africans, engaged and informed citizens. A critical component to the future of the people of northern Uganda is education and community participation. When people have a stake, a voice in their communities, futures, amazing things happen.
While in Uganda in October, I witnessed the desire of women to learn. I sat in on one of our satelite programs in a burned out structure sitting on the floor, with 20 or so women armed with pencils and paper, ready to learn, committed to creating a brighter future. It was inspiring and re-invigorated my commitment to our literacy program.
To ensure we are providing relevant and meaningful opportunities, WGEF will continue our literacy program, committed to ensuring women have an opportunity to learn and develop. This year we served over 140 women with two levels of literacy training for 8 months. We are hoping to include even more participants in 2014, but that is only possible with the ongoing commitment of the Global Giving community.
Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to women's empowerment.
The opportunity to read and write is one the most critical and transformative opportunities we provide. Most of our clients missed out on the opportunity when they were young due to the ongoing conflict. This year we were able to offer two levels of literacy classes, providing participants the opportunity to further study.
Our 2013 class is coming to a close, with classes beginning again in February 2014. This year our literacy students are planning to host a debate on 'educating girls' and the value of education for women. This debate will offer the community a chance to learn about our program and the the issues surrounding literacy and education for women. In addition, this is a unique event, created by WGEF clients, enabling them to use their skills, build confindence and work together to address inequality in the educational system.
"Other than improving my economic status, through the literacy program I learnt how to read and write, the event also made me discover my talents in drama and the other performances which made me very happy and in the end my health was also improved." - WGEF client
To date WGEF has provided over 600 women literacy training. This training enables women to create a brighter, more secure futures for themselves and their families. When a woman learns to read and write her life changes and possibilities are created.
Access to basic education is a human right and a milenium development goal. WGEF is committed to continuing to provide literacy and educational opportunities to women recoving their lives and communities in northern Uganda. Women report that not only does learning to read and write increase their economic opportunities, but also translates into better communication and less violence in their homes; it enables them to paricipate in their childrens education, and tears down elitist barriers.
Here is a quote from one of our clients:
"My name is Grace Arach, 29 years old, I have 3 children and a member of Kwo Aye Lonyo women group, I joined WGEF in 2008 and together with my members we have received 5 loan cycles. I sell fruits in the market and do some agriculture for home consumption. It was my first time to join any loan program and I feel preveraged to be part of the WGEF. I receive only 80,000shs $40 as my first loan which I invested in fruits as of now I have 300,000 $160 in my capital which I have raised through my saving and profits. I m so happy that I can now read and write my name an opportunity which I lost when I was young but when WEGF opened the free literacy program I was among the first one to register.....
After repaying our first loan I realized to have saved 12,000 $8 it was my first achievement in my life and it made me to believe in myself, we requested for the second loan until now we are still getting loans and training from the program.
My 2 children are schooling and I pay for their requirements, I rent for myself, I have bought 2 goats and rearing local chicken, now my relatives loves me... all this I was able to get it after joining the program I love the program and I wish if the program can extend to villages and reach more women since now many have shifted back and I would like to continue attending Literacy training for higher levels.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you, by the way this is an achievement to me I used to fear to share but now I will never be silent again."
Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to social justice and women's empowerment!
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