With pencils in hand and a hunger for knowledge, a new world of possibility opened to the 13 women, including Parmila, who had gathered to learn. They listened and observed as their pastor— and now teacher—taught them the meaning and sounds behind symbols they had always seen but never understood.
A Global Need
Nearly two thirds of the world’s illiterate adult population are female; that comes to around 496 million people, according to United Nations Statistics Division. Many government agencies and non-government organizations, including GFA-supported fellowships, have taken action to eradicate illiteracy crises throughout the world.
Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported workers conduct surveys in the areas where they serve to determine the people’s needs. In the village where Parmila lived, they noticed the need for literacy among the adult women. So they started a literacy program.
Parmila had prayed to the Lord often, asking for help to learn to read and write. She was one of the 250 million women in Asia who are illiterate. She wanted to help her children with homework; she wanted to read the Word of God for herself; she wanted the courage to engage in learning.
An Individual Desire
Parmila works in agriculture and various laborious jobs to provide for her three children and herself. She always wanted to learn to read and write, but she dealt with deeply rooted insecurities that prevented her from doing so. Whenever Parmila would find herself in situations where she was required to write her signature, she felt ashamed and drew back in silence. Parmila was certain everyone around her could read and write. Shame overcame her because she couldn’t.
In 2015, a women’s literacy program had commenced in her village, and Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported pastor Kavi was the instructor. The first class seated 13 women, including Parmila. For a year, Kavi and his students met three times a week. Parmila’s prayers were finally answered, and her diligence paid off as one day, in 2016, she was able to read the Bible in church.
“Now I have the answer to my prayer,” Parmila said. She continued to thank the church and their leadership for initiating this program.