Literacy transforming lives at all levels in one of the most challenging parts of the world

“This year my whole family had enough to eat during the dry season. Thanks to the Bible Society’s literacy course, I didn’t only learn to read and write but also found out how to use organic manure in agriculture. 

As a result of this, my crop yields increased. When you apply literacy skills well, it’s possible to make progress and to achieve food security.

Matthieu Lompo, a second-year student, is proud of his new knowledge.

There are many other people who are saying the same things about the literacy project run by the Bible Society in Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries. Reports tell of changes in all aspects of life. The project is meeting a desperate need in this West African country where the overall rate of illiteracy is

I have discovered through the literacy program that animals need to be cared for, just like humans,” he says. “Now that we’re taking good care of our animals, our output has risen, which has improved our financial situation.”

The villagers have also become able to help each other more, explains Elisabeth Oumbo, a teacher on one of the literacy courses.

“The weekly market is held a very long way from our village,” she says. “This means that only a few people can go there, and they have to shop for people who don’t go. The better somebody is able to write, the better they can note down requests. This means that they can really help other villagers.” 

Spiritual growth

Many of the people who have benefited from the project are also new Christians who came to faith through the Bible Society’s Faith Comes By Hearing project. They want to read God’s Word, and the literacy project is allowing them to do so.

“Before, I couldn’t understand what we were told at church,” remembers Outeini Outchir.  “We used to go to church just out of respect for the pastor, but now we read the texts ourselves and we understand

Similarly, Yaliema Lompo tells how readings and meditations help her to develop her faith. She adds an aspect that is important for many villagers:

“Now we can keep our family secrets by writing our own letters and by reading letters from family members ourselves.”

One of life’s most essential aspects

Literacy skills also bring about improvements in one of life’s most essential aspects: health. Nanulpe Yombo explains:

“I signed up for the literacy course two years ago, and I thank God for it. Before, we didn’t know about hygiene. We didn’t know how to take care of our kitchen utensils, our water, or even our children. Now we close our water containers properly, we wash our children and dress them appropriately for the weather. We’ve been to see the doctor far less often this year. My husband and children are pleased with me, and I’m happy with my home, too.”

Source: UBS Link

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