Ladan’s father’s meager income was just enough to keep the family alive. However, there were times during the summer and rainy seasons when there was no work for him at all. And no work meant no food. During her childhood, there were many moments when Ladan went to bed hungry.
Being that poor, neither she nor her siblings were educated. Instead of going to school, they all started working—just to survive—at a very young age. But that didn’t mean she didn’t notice the other kids in her village, whose parents could afford education, clothes, or a safe home to live in, trotting off on their way to school.
Sadly, nothing changed for Ladan, and when she was 21 years old, her father married her off to an alcoholic.
Three children soon followed, as did the responsibility of taking care of the entire family while her husband drank. But, since she was illiterate, her only options for work were low-paying day labor jobs. And, living in poverty meant her children wouldn’t be able to go to school, either.
Ladan was disappointed that she couldn’t provide better for her children and considered suicide many times.
Eventually, each of her children married and moved out. And then, Ladan’s husband passed away from complications due to his alcoholism.
Now a widow and totally alone, Ladan showed signs of mental illness. She stopped speaking and seemed to be uninterested in her life. That’s when she met Adult Literacy teacher Eira who encouraged her to enroll in the upcoming class, assuring her that her age would not be a hinderance.
Ladan agreed to attend, though she initially found it difficult to understand what was being taught, having no prior experience in a classroom setting. But thanks to Eira’s care and motivation, she slowly learned how to read and write.
And with those skills developing, she was able to attend two special trainings offered through the class: one focused on health and hygiene and the other on entrepreneurship.
A tobacco chewer, Ladan learned about the health problems related to tobacco and quit—a decision her children were thrilled with! She was also taught how to best care for her personal hygiene. Then, in the training on entrepreneurship, Ladan learned how to make products like soap and candles to sell at the market for a profit. With her first sales in the market, she made enough money to buy the raw materials needed to sustain her new small business.
Ladan is thrilled to not only be able to read, write, and do basic arithmetic, but earn enough money to provide for herself with the products she makes!