USA (MNN) — How would your life change if you didn’t know how to read, write, or do basic math? Literacy is so commonplace in the US that we often take it for granted.
However, observes Jennifer Vandermeulen of Mission India, illiteracy makes daily life a struggle for nearly 300 million people in India.
“It’s almost the entire population of the United States! Can you imagine that? Everyone in the United States not being able to read or write – that’s what it looks like in India.”
Illiteracy in India
According to the latest data from UNESCO, approximately 35 percent of the world’s 750 million illiterate people live in India.
On a day-to-day level, that means 265,543,922 people can’t read official letters or notifications. They are vulnerable to exploitation because they can’t read their paycheck to see if the boss is cheating them. Illiterate parents can’t help their children with homework.
“It’s one thing to see a need, and it’s another to do something about it,” notes Vandermeulen.
“My hope is that people all over, when they hear about the incredible need for people to know Christ in India, paired with the incredible need for literacy, [they will be] motivated to…give to change people’s lives.”
It only costs $40 to change a life through Mission India’s Adult Literacy Classes. Learn more here.
Over the span of one year, Vandermeulen explains, people advance from “zero” to a fifth-grade level of reading, writing, and basic math. They also learn core life skills like how to save money and increase income, along with good nutrition and hygiene practices.
“It’s really exciting because all of this is done through Bible-based material. So, every single day when they’re learning new vocabulary, a part of that is the Gospel and hearing about the love of Jesus Christ.”
How to make a difference
If you’ll be in Michigan on March 7, make sure to add this to your calendar: Mission India is teaming up with Proverbs 31 Ministries to host “Difference Maker: A Women’s Night Out.”
Learn more about the event here. It’s the brainchild of Christian author and speaker Lynn Cowell, who traveled to India a few years ago with Mission India.
“She was just taken [aback] by the power of God and the transformation that is happening in India right now, specifically in women’s lives through our Adult Literacy Classes,” says Vandermeulen.
“Out of that was birthed the idea to share with women here how they can be ‘difference makers’ in their own lives and in their own families, but also ‘difference makers’…for the women of India.”
Header image and story photos are courtesy of Mission India.