"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!
Our 2013 literacy training is starting next week, and once again we are offering two levels, for our continuing students. This critical program enables women who, due to a long and brutal conflict, the opportunity to learn to read and write.
To date over 500 women have participated in the program, attending classes twice a week for eight months. When a woman learns to read and write, her whole world changes; possibilities and opportunities are created.This year we are hoping to provide 10 additional women with this transformative opportunity, totalling 110 women and their families to participate.
In addition, our literacy students participate in many community based programs, become leaders and advocates in their communiuty. Last week some of our literacy students marched in celebration of International Women's Day.
With the help of our Global Giving donors, we will be able to continue this important program. The best way to create sustainable human development and peace is to focus on women Access to education is a human right, thank you for your committment to social justice.
As a mother of seven I had no idea about how my life would be after the impact of the LRA War. I was abducted at the age of six and returned with two children, I hardly knew what to do with my life because my parents were gone. After a few years I met a man whom I thought would provide me with all the security I needed, all was a myth because he kept beating me each time I asked for money and whenever he came home drunk causing even more pain and suffering. With all the pain I wanted to return to the bush where life was much easier but whenever I looked at my children I felt they needed me because no one could look after them after I was gone. It was then that I started growing vegetables and selling but the money was not even enough to cater for our upkeep because my husband could even take it away from me.
I had one problem after the other, with no one to turn to but one day I met a group of Women Benefiting from WGEF, after several days, a peer counselor shared with me a lot about what I was going through and introduced me to the Program, due to my low self esteem I feared to be among other women but gradually I gained the courage.
My life has now changed not only because of the loans but also the trainings that I received. I managed to start up a business and a live stock project which is helping me pay school fees and other basic needs; I also bought a bicycle from the profits which has eased the transportation of my products to the market. At this point the relationship within my family has improved and we are working together to provide for our family, people in my community now respect me and I am now even a community leader, something I thought wasn’t meant for me. At last I have the hope that was long gone.
“Please fellow women, do not think whatever you went through or are going through cannot change – we can rise above poverty once equipped with the right tools”
“Akello Beatrice – Bungatira” God Bless WGEF
Beatrice is a participant in our literacy program, enabling her to create a brighter future and self esteem. K.S.
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