India (MNN) — In many parts of the world, education is required for all school-aged children. Therefore, literacy can tend to be taken for granted. The ability to read signs at a grocery store, to calculate your own bills, to write letters of love and encouragement… several people can’t imagine not being able to do these things.
However, children’s education in India wasn’t freely available or required until 2009. Because of this, nearly 30 percent of Indian adults today cannot read or do basic math — mostly women.
“There are nearly 300 million illiterate adults in India. And to serve those individuals and to educate them, we started forming these adult literacy classes. Through these adult literacy classes, we also share about the love of Jesus,” explains Erik* with Mission India.
“Over a course of 52 weeks, these individuals go through holistic and practical lessons that empower them to read and write at a fifth grade level, do three-digit math, save money, and increase income. At the same time, they’re also learning about healthy eating, good hygiene, and sanitation.”
Erik says these classes have opened exciting opportunities for the men and women gaining new skills.
“In some cases, because of all the stuff we’re teaching them, men and women are starting their own macro-economics business and really growing their families’ income. It’s upped their education level and it’s also upped their income level in a lot of cases.”
But one of the most life-changing aspects of Mission India’s adult literacy classes are the conversations that take place about faith and Jesus Christ.
Erik shares, “We just got a quote from an adult literacy student who said, ‘The adult literacy classes helped many people become literate. Thank you for giving me a Bible. I feel happy because the Bible gave me a good knowledge of how to lead a spiritual life and live and walk according to God’s will. I feel happy to read the Bible everyday and memorize it daily. It helped me as well as my family come closer to the Lord Jesus Christ.’”
The literacy classes not only transform the lives of the students, but the instructors as well. Erik also gives this testimonial from one of their adult literacy class teachers:
“He said, ‘The adult literacy class program is effective in transforming the lives of people, both economically as well as spiritually. For the last seven years I was in ministry. Though I tried to start a prayer group, I couldn’t. But after partnering with Mission India through adult literacy classes, I was able to start nine prayer groups; and out of nine prayer groups, I was able to baptize 20 students. I was also able to witness God’s love with some anti-Christian extremists.’”
Morshead says it’s stories like these that make it all worth it. “We just have quotes and stories upon stories of men and women starting out not even knowing how to read, [then] learning how to read; and through their ability to start to read, they start to understand the love of Jesus Christ. It’s something I’m very passionate about. These adult literacy classes bring so much change to families, and we are just so blessed to be a part of what God is doing through these adult literacy classes.”
The cost to sponsor an adult literacy student in India for a year? Just $30. And a giving commitment of $30 per month will sponsor 12 literacy students that year!
“That covers all the materials for all the students that are partaking, so everything from booklets they’re reading to chalkboards and chalk they use to write and practice on to partnering and supporting the educator as well.”
If you’d like to sponsor an adult literacy student with Mission India, click here! There’s a section to designate your monthly donation near the bottom of the page.
In doing so, you’re not only empowering the life of a man or woman in India through the gift of education, but also opening up the door for them to engage the written Word of God and come to a saving knowledge of their Heavenly Father. Please pray to that end as well.
*Name changed for security purposes.