Samaja and her community live in a mountainous region, relying on agriculture and the natural resources of their land for opportunities to work. The brewing and consumption of alcohol is a part of daily life for many, and most of the village does not attend school. A heavily patriarchal community, many of the women felt overruled by their husbands or the men in their village.
When Samaja first heard about literacy classes, she was reluctant to attend. But as soon as she started, she began to feel better about herself and her future. She learned about hygiene and disease prevention and made immediate changes that benefited her health. Encouraged by her beginning progress of reading and writing, Samaja asked her teacher for more books so she could continue to improve her new skills.
Samaja noticed the changes in herself—her growing confidence, her new abilities to engage with written word, and her improved health. But she also noticed changes in her entire village. Communal habits were interrupted by new information and a new wave of empowerment that families experienced through literacy classes.
Samaja learned how to maintain and grow her bank accounts, putting some away for savings and putting some toward paying off loans. The hygienic, educational, habitual, and financial changes that have taken place in her life have not only affected her but her family too. Positive transformation is occurring throughout the lives of those attending literacy classes with her, and the community is filled with new hope for the future of their village.
Names and images have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.