Stories

Breaking Generational Illiteracy

When the devastation of a terrible harvest led Eesha’s husband to spiral into alcoholism, her once quiet life spiraled out of control. Unable to depend on her husband financially, Eesha needed to go to work. However, since she was born into a community where only male children were given the opportunity of education, Eesha was illiterate—leaving only low-paying field work to make ends meet.

She often dreamed of taking her children and running away, but what would she do? How on earth would she ever provide for them? She was barely able to do so now. She felt restless, but eventually resigned herself to her fate and silently bore her lot in life.

Years later, when the opportunity to attend an Adult Literacy Class presented itself, Eesha joyfully jumped at the chance. Every lesson made a profound impact on her. With determination, regular attendance, and practice, Eesha learned to read, write, and do basic math. Her new skills gave her options for work that she never had before and never dreamed she could have.

She also attended a special training through the Adult Literacy Class on health and hygiene, where she learned the importance of taking care of her personal hygiene. There, she gained knowledge on things like the importance of drinking clean water and washing vegetables before cooking. Armed with this new knowledge, Eesha started a kitchen garden! Using natural compost from her surroundings as a fertilizer—another skill she learned in the training—she planted papaya, green leafy vegetables, and fruit trees.

After that, Eesha attended a special training on entrepreneurship, learning how to create a sustainable source of income for her family during the off-season by making household products like candles, shampoo, detergent, and pain balm to sell in the market.

Now Eesha looks toward her future, and that of her children, with confidence. The skills she has now, previously denied to her, will allow her to care for herself and help her children with their schoolwork. But they will also do so much more; passing down the legacy of literacy to her children will break both generational illiteracy and poverty, giving generations to come options that Eesha’s parents never had.