Literacy Opens Doors for Women in South Asia

December 8, 2015 •
Literacy Opens Doors for Women in South Asia

A center gives women skills to live and the opportunity to find faith

A mother stood with her two teenage girls begging Mrs. K to accept them as students at the Shama women’s center. The center, supported by Samaritan’s Purse, helps marginalized women in South Asia find their identities in Jesus through spiritual, vocational, and literacy training. The mother longed for her daughters to have education and purpose in life.

“I want my girls to grow up to be like you!” she said.

Literacy Opens Doors for Women in South Asia

Women sit in a literacy class at the Shama center.

Mrs. K looked at the sisters. They couldn’t read and had not finished elementary school. She kindly encouraged the mother to bring them back once they were over 18.

“First let your girls complete their schooling,” she said.

But just weeks later, the mother returned. She couldn’t pay the fees for her girls to finish school and was desperate for them to receive some training.

Mrs. K relented and accepted the older of the two girls, Farhanna, as a student.

A Life Forever Changed

Mrs. K not only taught Farhanna how to read, but she also shared regular Bible lessons with her. They sat in the middle of the classroom together, and sometimes Mrs. K would take Farhanna’s hand and guide her in learning how to write.

Although it took her twice as long as the other students to complete her classes, Farhanna persevered. Along the way, she found faith in Jesus, was baptized, and became active in her church.

Today, she has a good job at a supermarket and teaches a young women’s Bible study in the evenings.

Farhanna wants to see other women have the opportunity that she had. She has offered to return to the school to help with trainings, even though she will earn less money in doing so.

Overcoming Obstacles

Another young woman named Nida chose to use her challenges as stepping-stones to a new life of service.

Nida comes from a large family with an alcoholic father. As the oldest child, she wanted an education so that she could support her family. She began working with her mother cleaning houses in the morning and coming to the Shama women’s center in the afternoon. Nida participated in the adult literacy program for two years and learned to read. During this time, she also accepted Jesus as her Savior and was baptized in the sea.

As a result of the literacy program, Nida was able to complete 10th grade. Afterward, she returned to the women’s center to take theology classes for two more years. Today, Nida loves to share about Jesus. She teaches Sunday school, serves on the prayer team, and participates in a weekly women’s gathering.

A World of Opportunity

Adult literacy programs meet a need among the women of South Asia. Many girls receive only the most elementary education and then must stay home or find a job cleaning houses to support their families. Learning the basic skills of reading and mathematics allows women to earn a better living and manage their personal finances. Literacy also makes it possible for them to study the Bible on their own and grow in their faith.

Shama women’s center assists people like Nida, Farhanna, and many others in finding their identity and purpose in Jesus. With new confidence and training, the women are overcoming the obstacles of their lives with joy. Currently, 130 women are enrolled, and more are expected.

“The women are so excited to know that women from the U.S. are standing beside them,” one of our partners said. “[We] see this as an incredible opportunity to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way. This is a story that God continues to write among the lives of the women of South Asia.”

Please pray that God will use this literacy and training program to make His Name known among the women. Pray that He will light their paths to lives full of faith and possibility.

Help Women Around the World Our projects around the world support, protect, and bless vulnerable women in the Name of Jesus Christ. When natural disasters strike or war erupts, women and their children are often at most risk. Samaritan’s Purse quickly responds by providing urgently needed food, water, shelter, and medical care. In addition, women face specific challenges in many contexts across the globe, which is why Samaritan’s Purse also helps those in need with vocational training, prenatal care and nutritional classes for mothers, outreach projects to prevent abuse and exploitation, and more.

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