"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass

Some 776 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. [When a nation adopts September 8 to observe,] International Literacy Day signifies the recognition of the country to strive towards total and complete literacy for the nation. From www.cute-calendar.com

Literacy Benefits to Women

Some of the benefits to women from a literacy program include:

  • lower birthrates (smaller families)
  • with lower birthrates, the parents are better able to provide Christian education
  • the children have improved educational abilities
  • decrease in maternal mortality
  • later marriages
  • overall improvement in family health
  • decrease in infant mortality
  • a greater sense of personal self-worth
  • an ability to read Scripture
  • an ability to assume responsibility for personal spiritual choices
  • an expanded influence in teaching children spiritual values
  • an ability to become involved in the church’s mission
  • a greater possibility of becoming financially stable
  • increased employment choices and productivity
  • the ability to provide financial support to the church
  • more involvement in community development

The mother’s ability to read often determines the literacy level for the entire family. A study conducted in the U.S. found that 65% of the children whose mothers participated in adult education programs demonstrated improvement in school. Furthermore, what a mother learns in an adult literacy program regarding child rearing and health can have an immediate effect on the family.

Literate women also understand more of what they hear in regards to health and family planning and are able to communicate with health professionals better than women who are illiterate.

Source: Women's Ministries Leadership Certification training, Level 2 — Seminar: OP 804 Literacy Training

Resources available: Brochure listing all seminars available in Leadership Certification Levels 1-4, Download here. Level 1 is available free, Download here. Individual seminar packets and one CD containing all four levels of Leadership Certification training are available from AdventSource.org, Purchase here

See also: So You Want to Start a Literacy Program, a WM manual by Ardis Stenbakken, 2003 revision

General Conference Women's Ministries Scholarship Program

GCWM scholarship program has supported higher education for Adventist women globally since 1991, and more than one million dollars has been awarded to 2,164 recipients in 124 countries. More information | online donations