In October of 2016, I had the privlige of visiting with a large group of our clients. About 40 women come together for a community meeting a a village just outside Gulu. While the distance was challenging the roads were, and what should have taken 20 minutes or so, took an hour to get into this village.
When we arrived the women were rehearing for the presentation in the upcoming drama festival, held every year in Gulu. We host this annual festival to enable women a stigma free environment to challenge their community to listen and recognize the role and issues facing women and families. It is also an important cultural celebration.
When everyone was seated, the leader of the group, Vicki, welcomed us. I then had the chance to ask women about their lives, work and how the program has impacted them and their families. Many of the women shared their stories of creating successful businesses, agro projects, enabling them to send their children to school. They also spoke about increasing food security, participation in their communities and increased respect at home.
Several women mentioned the importnace of the literacy program; suggesting it has improvied their self esteem and capabilities to run their businesses, interact with the public and pariticpate in their communities.
One women stood up and said, "I used to be blind, but now I can see." Her name was Anek, and she told us she had just learned to write her name. It was a hubling and emotional moment for everyone. I then asked her if she would mind sharing with us; there was a chalkboard nearby. Anek rose, walked to the chalkboard and wrote her name.
While seemingly simple, it was life changing for her, and many others. This is the power of our literacy program; the Credit Plus program and what is possible for women recovering and rebuilding their lives. Apprciating the small steps as well as the big, understanding that empowerment comes in many ways.
This year we want to provide 400 women the opporutnity to read and write, and while this is a big undertaking, I believe we can be successful. We hope you are inspired and support our literacy program in 2016.