In 2015, Liberia was polled to have 62.4% of adult males literate and 32.8% of adult females. This is by far a huge crisis in Liberia. It is of no surprise that this war-torn, Ebola-stricken country should face this kind of heartbreak! After a long 14 years of civil war which destroyed much of the country’s trained workforce and threw children into becoming “war soldiers”. Liberia is still rebuilding their educational system. Then in 2015, Liberia was forced to close schools due to the Ebola outbreak. Now, Liberia is significantly behind most other African countries in nearly all educational statistics.
It’s no surprise that many adult women face desperate times due to illiterate status. Jobs are scarce. Money is scarce. Opportunities are scarce. Most women are dependent on their husbands and/or children who are literate to get by. Those who wish to further their education are usually on the bottom of the list.
And what about learning from God’s Word? It is very limited on a personal level. Can you imagine only knowing about God’s Word through what others are telling you? You can’t read it for yourself. You may own a Bible but the words mean nothing to you, they are literally just ink blobs on the page. Hearing from a radio station, or your pastor, or maybe a friend about what they read in the Bible would be a normal scenario for you. And does it all mean the same coming from so many directions?
After teaching two Bible sessions in Liberia, our team came to the conclusion that it would be best to try to launch a Literacy program for the attendees. It just made sense. We would be reaching a larger audience in the future. Out of the 20 women who came to the teaching each day, ONLY FOUR were LITERATE.
Group of women in Pleebo who have attended Bible teaching for the 3rd session. Left to Right.. Trudy Kempton, Rosemary Welch & Julia Comer.
In July of 2017, a new program was launched to break the illiterate cycle for women in Pleebo. Trudy Kempton, a former missionary to Liberia, who is a certified teacher began researching the best way to teach adults to read and write. Trudy choose to us the “Laubach Way to Reading” which is from an organization called Pro-literacy. She was thrilled to travel to Liberia with our Equip2serve team.
The first task was to introduce the program to willing teachers who could learn the program and in return teach their own people. It didn’t take long for these eager teachers to grasp what needed to be taught. Liberia uses English so these simple lessons transferred over just fine.
Meanwhile, Julia Comer & Rosemary Welch kept very busy teaching through some positional truths with the group. They also enjoyed visiting the ladies at their houses & farms. This is a tangible way of showing Christ's love. It also helps the teachers get to know their students in their own environment. Understanding their culture is an important part of discipling.
Loving on the babies and children is so fun too! There is always a baby to hold or kids to play with in Liberia!
Won't you join us in prayer as we seek to find ways to disciple women in Liberia? Pray for wisdom as Trudy Kempton helps these Liberian teachers to understand the literacy program. Pray for the teachers that they can teach these lessons well and with consistency. And finally, the learners as they begin to learn how to read & write! How exciting it will be to see them read and understand the Bible! And to be able to help their own children with homework!
Let's together see Liberian women break the illiterate cycle!