Although the literacy rate among young women in Rwanda has improved over the last decade, about 50% of women living in the Association of Baptist Churches of Rwanda (AEBR) communities are illiterate. Many are in this situation because of the events surrounding the 1994 genocide that further eroded the ability of families to send their children to school.

For girls living in poverty, the situation is particularly difficult. Their families rely on them to care for siblings, to earn money as domestic workers, or do chores around the home while parents look for work on a daily basis. Getting an education for these girls is simply not the highest priority. For many women today, illiteracy has left them feeling isolated, self-conscious and unable to support the education of their children. The lack of literacy skills also affects their ability to be fully trained in economic initiatives which are key programs in emerging from cycles of poverty.

“I’m very thankful to the AEBR literacy program for now I can read. It was so sad for me and my husband not to be able to help our children with their homework when they asked. My first three children we couldn’t help them, but gladly I can help the two youngest.” Pascasie, a mother of five children who benefitted from AEBR’s literacy program.

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How the Project Works

Since 2010, CBM has worked alongside the AEBR to provide literacy classes for women. The majority of these women live on less than a dollar a day, mainly earned through subsistence agriculture. Many of them dream of learning a trade, getting a better job, even reading the Bible and teaching others to read as well. Because of this initiative they are each closer to realizing their dreams. Upon the successful completion of their literacy classes, each student receives a Bible. The Women’s Department of the AEBR mentors Bible study leaders to help these women read the Word and understand the plans God has for them. There is great potential for them to take leadership roles in their churches and communities.This program is now expanding to help even more women realize their potential. They will receive the necessary training in vital areas such as governance of savings and loan groups and the development of effective self-help groups.