While enthusiastic about this new program, the added challenge for these women is that they raise families, often as single parents of multiple children. Many of them walk miles to the cooperative to attend trainings in addition to weaving or sewing as the sole source of income for their families. Two hours a week is what they can devote to literacy training. Therefore we are always concerned—is two hours a week enough to make a difference? Not too long ago at Covanya we received an anecdotal response to this question.
As we embarked upon an exercise in collecting our recent sales data (as part of our entrepreneurship training), the usual leaders of the cooperative pulled out their notebooks and pens. I was then surprised to see one of our literacy beginner trainees, who could not write her name six months ago, pull a crisply preseved exercise book out of her purse. With utmost concentration she began to copy down the market information as our trainer wrote it on the board. I couldn’t help but sneak a peak, and all the information was being transferred in her shaky but legible hand. Even more heartening, the book was already half full of notes from other trainings and meetings. Usually one of our most reticent trainees, she even raised her voice to question one of the figures after she had copied it down. As we consistently strive to improve our programming, her newfound confidence and skills serve as the ultimate example for success.