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Kate Jongbloed

Moms and daughters learn side by side in Egypt

Kate Jongbloed

201303-EGY-03More than 23 million people in Egypt are illiterate, meaning they don’t know how to read, write or count. Seventy percent – or 16 million – of them are women.

Without literacy skills, these women cannot read to their children, fill out job applications or make change at the market.

Passing illiteracy from generation to generation

Poverty, as well as persistent gender roles, often entraps girls in responsibilities that exclude them from school. For example, girls may miss school when they are obliged to help out with the household chores. At the same time, illiterate moms in Egypt’s poorest households have a difficult time encouraging their own children’s education.

Through illiteracy, the cycle of poverty becomes ingrained.

Not all learning happens in the classroom

Plan Egypt’s Learn for Life program is helping put an end to the cycle by encouraging young moms to learn to read, write and count alongside their daughters. Learning circles meet locally, and usually consist of 12 learners, aged 15 to 35.

Cultural norms and social barriers can make it difficult for women to leave their houses to access training. Instead, learners gather in convenient places, such as their own homes or community centres at times that work for them. Eager to learn, the women often meet for up to 10 hours per week!

Plan trains women from the communities to facilitate the learning circles using drawings, dialogue, and experience sharing to teach writing, reading and numeracy. To make learning more interesting, circle facilitators teach using topics that are relevant to daily life, like raising children and even sharing recipes!

Children attend the learning circles with their mothers so that they can practice their own lessons and get homework help at the same time.

Help provide literacy training for 2 women with this life changing Gift of Hope!