Kavitha is a 35 year old low caste Dalit woman, living in Andhra Pradesh, India. She is also illiterate – unable to recognise any letters or numbers – something that has severely affected her ability to provide for her family.
“I always wanted to learn how to read and write,” says Kavitha, “but my family couldn’t afford to send me to school and, because I was a girl, it was not considered worthwhile.”
But Kavitha was able to join an Adult Literacy Centre in her community, funded by Signpost International. In the months that followed, Kavitha and other local women were taught maths and literacy using letter and number cards.
“Later on we were given a story book,” says Kavitha, “and we practiced our writing and did calculations.”
“Once we had a discussion on the great women leaders of India. It inspired me. I began to think that being a woman should not hold me back anymore.”
In the space of a few months Kavitha learned to read and write on her own, recognise numbers, and do simple addition and subtraction.
She can now go to the bank and market independently, read the name boards on the local buses and help support her own children in their education.
“I can also access government schemes that guarantee my livelihood as a casual agricultural worker,” explains Kavitha.
“The government had made an amendment that said people could only access these opportunities if they could write a signature, rather than a thumb impression. Now I can do this!”
Kavitha is very proud of her new learning, and happy that she can finally begin to improve her financial status.
“Now I know how important it is that my children can complete their studies,” she says. “Without education we would have stayed poor forever!”
If you would like to help Signpost International help more people like Kavitha, then please donate here.