Tourists flocked to Shanti’s city year after year, enchanted by the snowcapped mountains reflected in a glassy lake. But while visitors dreamt of living in her beautiful city, Shanti lived in a fog of depression and frustration, weary of suppressing her lifelong desire.
Girl Kept Home from School
During Shanti’s childhood, most parents in her community believed sending girls to school was useless and a poor investment, since their daughters would only grow up to marry, move out of their home and never give back to the family income. Fear of their girls acting indecently and bringing shame to the family also hindered some parents from sending their daughters to school.
So instead of learning her alphabet and multiplication tables, Shanti learned to bury her ambition of going to school.
Years of Longing to Read
Although her community’s perspective on girls’ education has improved over the years, 35-year-old Shanti and many other illiterate women in her community still suffered from the influence those views held during their childhood.
“How unlucky I am,” Shanti often said to herself when she saw other women reading or using math skills.
Shanti’s city offered several programs to help women break out of illiteracy, but Shanti could not attend because the classes were inconveniently scheduled for evenings.
Escaping the Gloom of Illiteracy
Shanti continually stifled her desire to read—until she heard about literacy classes led by a team of Gospel for Asia-supported Sisters of Compassion. The classes were perfectly timed, just one hour in the afternoon, and the Sisters of Compassion even provided the needed pens and notebooks! Shanti’s husband had no objection, and he happily encouraged her to attend the classes.
Shanti eagerly joined the classes and started learning the skills she had longed to know for so many years. Soon, her husband and children saw her reading books at home, and they proudly watched her steady improvement.
As Shanti worked through the curriculum used by the Sisters of Compassion, she put her new skills to use by reading portions of Scripture, learning how God demonstrated His love for men and women alike.
“I am really thankful to the Sisters of Compassion team for organizing this literacy class,” Shanti said. “Their hard work made it all possible.”
Because Shanti was no longer inhibited by illiteracy, her confidence grew drastically. She overcame the hesitancy that once infiltrated her conversations with friends and her trips to the bank or around town, and she discovered a new quality of life, free from the gloom of illiteracy.