Photo credit: Johnny Lam Photography.

September 8 is International Literacy Day, and we recognize the dignity that exists in learning to write your name… for the very first time. No matter what your age. Meet Suntoki (born circa 1938), the oldest literacy student in a remote village in Odisha, India who just started to learn how to read and write in the past year, through one of CBM’s literacy programs. It is being done through the Adult Literacy Program and Tuition Centre, operated by the Soura Baptist church, which has provided literacy training to at least 600 people already. Study materials are provided, including white boards and slates, along with literacy and tutoring centres, with training for teachers of these centres.

“It is estimated that about 33% of women in India are illiterate. The number is higher than men due to gender inequality,” shares Johnny CY Lam, a photographer who visited the project last year with CBM’s mosaic magazine editor, Laurena Zondo. But things are slowly changing, through awareness programs and meetings being run through this project. Now, women are eagerly participating in this program, with 300 villagers now being able to read and write the alphabet, words and numbers. They can write their own name and address for the first time in Sora, a Munda language of India spoken in Southern Odisha. Let’s continue to support and pray for these incredible efforts, which proves that the joy of learning is never finished!