Once-illiterate Woman Teaches Husband to Read

A GFA World Sister of Compassion helps teach a woman how to read and write.
Like this woman, Rella learned how to read and write through a Gospel for Asia (GFA World) literacy class.

Rella sat with a book open before her as she read aloud to her husband and children. Perhaps her eyes shone with each word. It was a dream come true. Just a short time ago, these letters had been undecipherable and painful reminders of her shortcomings. Now, they represented hope.

An Everyday Struggle

As a child, Rella had missed the opportunity to study in school. Rella’s impoverished family had needed her to stay home and care for her younger siblings. She reached adulthood unable to read or write, then she married Rahm, who was also illiterate.

Rahm worked as a daily laborer while Rella stayed home to care for their home and three young children. Their small house in the slum, a shelter made of mud and plastic, was all they could afford. Their illiteracy caused many struggles in their everyday life. They couldn’t read labels, street signs or legal documents.

Rella’s lack of education extended to math as well. Without basic math skills, Rella could not count out money whenever she purchased anything from the market. She had no idea how much money she spent and had to seek help from someone else. With every trip to the market came confusion and discouragement.

A Chance to Learn

Then Rella learned a Gospel for Asia (GFA World) Sisters of Compassion team was doing a survey among the slum residents, particularly the women, regarding literacy. The sisters soon discovered that most of them, like Rella, were uneducated and very poor. Burdened by the need, these women missionaries took the initiative to organize a literacy class to teach women in the slum how to read and write.

With hope in her heart, Rella joined the growing number of women in the class, which was offered free of charge. Rella and the other students received a literacy book and set out to learn what many had lacked the opportunity to learn as children.

Rella came to every class, soaking up the lessons. Leaning into the caring tutelage of the Sisters, Rella’s appetite for learning persisted. Five months later, not only could Rella read and write, but she was at the top of the literacy class.

She is delighted with her new skill, which she has begun to share at home. In the evenings and whenever Rahm is home from work, Rella teaches him how to read and write, and she can now help her children in their studies. These children have hope for a better future than their grandparents were able to give Rella and Rahm; this hope is helping break the generational cycle of poverty.

The Sisters of Compassion have also cared for Rella’s soul. The team continues to visit Rella, encouraging her and praying with her, sharing Christ’s love with Rella and her family as they continue to impact this household.


Read how another GFA World literacy class built Gaetane’s confidence and faith.


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