Was this the bus Preshti needed? Or was it that one? Visiting her mother in another city always proved to be a challenge for the 45-year-old mother of four. She couldn’t read the signs.
Growing Up Illiterate
Preshti was among the two-thirds of women in her area who are illiterate. Growing up, Preshti was not able to attend school because of her parents’ poverty. As the eldest, Preshti took care of her siblings and the home while her parents worked. The money they made put Presthi’s younger siblings through school. For Preshti, school seemed out of reach, and she carried this belief into her adult years.
After she met and married her husband, Preshti realized just how important literacy was. She struggled to read street signs, pay bills, board the correct bus, check her earnings and count the change she received at the market. Many times she used her fingerprint to sign legal documents she couldn’t even read.
Grasping the Skills to Change
Then Preshti enrolled in a literacy class organized by GFA woman missionaries. Some challenges arose, however. If she took the classes during the day, she couldn’t work. The missionaries moved the classes to evening, but even then, Preshti could barely focus after a hard day’s work. Then, after class, she would come home and cook dinner, and her alcoholic husband would be angry if she was too late getting dinner on the table.
But Preshti pushed on. She needed these classes.
After some months, Preshti “graduated.” Her confidence soared; she finally could read and write!
Armed with her newfound abilities, Preshti joined other women in a local small business plan. Taking a loan, the women started small businesses and used the earnings to pay the loan and provide for their families.
Preshti used her skills to keep a clear record of her loans and payments with ease. She helped the group’s leader organize weekly meetings and keep a register of all members. With her earnings, Preshti provided for her family, who rejoiced in her newfound literacy.
For many years, Preshti thought an education was out of her reach. Now she holds the benefits and opportunities of literacy in her hands.