A literacy program gets ready to graduate its first class in India.

By March 31, 2006

India (MNN)–Throughout India, there is a hunger for literacy. Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India’s Dave DeGroot says that was never so clear as it was post-tsunami. Many fishermen couldn’t earn a living and had to change careers.

But because many couldn’t read, they were unable to find work. Mission India then began offering a 12-month, five-night-a-week, 2-hour-a-night literacy course designed for areas where literacy is low.

This course is now available in 17 languages and can be effectively taught by instructors from depressed areas who have little formal education themselves.

Despite the commitment level demanded from the students, because Mission India’s literacy classes open new doors, people persevere.

As a result, DeGroot says, “The first graduating class is among about 7,500 students, after this year long program are starting to happen.”

Even better, he adds, “These are all people who are now literate and we’re just starting up the second round of classes for another 7,500 people.”

An empowering move for a people who, likely as not, experience more repression in the caste system than others. When someone reaches out, then, the difference is obvious.

DeGroot explains the literacy classes are partnerships with local ministries. The connection: the tsunami relief. “The people are curious…’who are these Christians that came in to help?'” Quite a few of them were actually locked out of the relief process by Hindu-dominated organizations. Many of these people are so-called ‘untouchables’, and they’re very happy to make the acquaintance of these Christians.”

If you’d like to help, go to Mission India’s website.

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