Five years ago, Pastor Rasiya Damore was illiterate and unable to read his Bible. Then he joined an Open Doors sponsored Adult Literacy program, becoming one of 350 adults in the Jhabua district whose life has been powerfully impacted by learning how to read, write, and do basic math. Since 2009, the Adult Literacy Program has held evening classes in 10 mostly Christian villages throughout the Jhabua district. The district is known for having the lowest literacy rate in the state an appalling 36.9%, compared with India’s national average of 65%.
Once Rasiya learned to read and write, he began to teach his church congregation the importance of education. In this region, it is common for illiterate people to be taken advantage of. “Those who take out loans from local contractors are often deceived and paid a smaller amount than what is written on the receipt,” Rasiya explains. According to the literacy coordinator of this project, a special emphasis is placed on teaching the students how to count money so they will be able to verify their wages.
After completing the program, Rasiya went on to become a volunteer in the literacy training centers, where approximately 150 students are now registered in classes.
Since the establishment of this program, the community has seen many positive changes. Approximately 60% of the students entered the government literacy exam in the spring of 2013 to qualify for the third grade board exams. Many of these were poor children who dropped out of school to care for cattle and tend to their families’ farms. Students also included adults who had never attended school: pastors, lay leaders, men, women and young people.
According to the literacy coordinator, the best part of volunteering with this project is seeing the students learn to read the Bible. “Most of all it is a joy to see our students read the Word of God in their own language, which so far they had only heard!”
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