Education is the center point of economic development for many nations. Any country that has low education levels is not fulfilling its potential. Unfortunately, Malawi is a case in point. Malawi’s literacy levels are a challenge and many people in the villages can’t read or write. 1/3 of adults are illiterate with people in the rural villages making up most of the illiteracy in the country. However, many of these adults hunger for education and the ability to read, write, and participate in the formal economy. This is why the community of Sangilo identified adult literacy as one of the areas it would like to improve.
There is a direct correlation between the education level of parents and their children. Most of the kids perform well in our schools are the ones whose parents can read and write. With the ability to read, parents are able to check through school work, follow progress reports and help their children with homework.
The building of Tilipo Nursery School in Sangilo, which was a partnership between the community and Determined to Develop, was meant to boost early childhood development through education to the youngest in our society. This nursery school has proven to be a double blessing as the same building is used in the afternoon for adult literacy classes for villagers, especially women, who would like to learn how to read and write.
The adult literacy classes introduced by Determined to Develop, just this year, have had a positive impact on the lives of the elderly in Malawi. With the help of Determined to Develop donations and a partnership with the International Citizens Services volunteers, Sangilo adults began attending these classes weekly. The adult literacy classes first focus on writing and spelling in the vernacular language, Tumbuka, and then move forward with basic English. These adult literacy classes have made a measurable difference in the community of Sangilo, as now several of the elderly that were previously unable to do so, can now manage to read and write at a basic level.
The community of Sangilo strongly believes that if the elderly villagers can attain basic education in areas like literacy, they will be able to contribute to the development of the area. In many cases, the elderly members of the community are the primary caregivers and drivers of development; raising orphans, cooking porridge for the local elementary school feeding program, supervising the children and nursery schools, farming (even at an old age) to secure the harvest each year which keep their extended families alive. All in partnership with Determined to Develop.
This form of empowerment has been welcomed enthusiastically by the people of Sangilo and they are very thankful to the Determined to Develop donors for providing the basic study materials and support that make this adult literacy program possible. One only had to be in the room as the women who participate were able, for the first time, to spell and write their names. The pride they felt in being able to complete that simple task was monumental and meant they are now empowered to participate in an area of society, for which they had up to that point, been locked out.
Tawonga chomene (We thank you)