It is amazing to see how many lives have been changed in Maasailand because of the adult literacy classes. The women converge either in a church hall or under a tree for their reading and writing lessons. At Enkereyian, one of the women walks to the front, spells her first name— Esiankiki—also writes Number 1 to 10 and proudly walks back to her seat, amid great applause from her classmates.
At Naiborare, 15 women converge under a tree, and applying their progressing literacy skills, go through a drill of counting money.
Truly, it brings much joy when an illiterate woman begins a class and by the end of the year she reads and writes on her own. It is astounding.
Through these skills many have come to appreciate the gift of education which is vital for any society to thrive. Learners in the adult classes have now been able to understand and interpret issues affecting them. This has enabled them do away with harmful traditional practices such as early marriages and Female Genital Mutilation which are a big impediment to the development of the Maasai community.
“When the class began, no one knew how to read,” their teacher, Florence Simil said to express how the journey has been for the learners. It is surprisingly amazing to hear the old women read some words and even read some Bible passages. “When I joined the class I could not read but now I can read some verses in the Bible,” Rose Kamalel excitedly said as she opened the Bible and read some verses in Proverbs and Mathew.
“We love to learn and want to directly get God’s message by reading the Bible for ourselves, “Esther Leipa says.
In addition, these women have become agents of community transformation by encouraging their children especially the girl child to attend school. “I am now helping and encouraging my children to pursue education,” Esther noted demonstrating the hope she has of seeing her life improve and break from the bonds of poverty.
The women now feel better and much more respected in society. Other people in their families and communities look at them with wonder and amazement because of the rapid change that has taken place in their lives. “Our husbands are now proud of us. We read for them important information like sign boards for ease of direction,” Esther added.
The benefits of the literacy classes have translated to better health for children. Most of them when they started the classes they did not know how to give their children medicine as prescribed by the doctor. Now they can read and give my children the right medicine and dosage. They are very happy their children are healthy.
It is through your generous contribution and commitment towards this worthy cause that we are able to help the Maasai community improve their lives. The empowerment of these women through literacy has meant they have become more actively engaged in decision making at the household level, allowing them to pursue and advocate their own interests. Thank you.
There is still an overwhelming need for this community to continue learning; hundreds of them are yearning to be able to read and write. You can help make a difference to a family deep inside rural Kenya among a marginalized community where development has been slow. Lack of education and poverty among the Maasai people is devastatingly high with many almost perishing when drought hits. Christian Mission Aid has been helping this community to rise above these challenges by offering them a gift that no one will ever take away from them – Adult Education.
People with good literacy skills are more likely to have higher self-esteem, better health, better jobs and higher wages than those with poor literacy skills. Join us to make these women be able to take advantage of available opportunities and lead better lives.