Women Aid Literacy in Togo

A team of teachers working in Togo report progress in developing literacy in village society, with a special focus on women

Lome, Togo | Jonathan Gallagher / ANN

A team of teachers working in Togo report progress in developing literacy in village society, with a special focus on women. In two villages, Amadahoe and Yokoe, 104 students graduated from the program-88 women and 16 men.

“I am convinced that this is a magnificent means to help and equip women, opening a larger world to them,” says project leader Ellen Mayr, Women’s Ministries director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the area. “In the courses we taught, the students had the opportunity to learn how to read and write, but they also received health, hygiene and nutrition courses. They showed a lot of appreciation for what we have done for them, and we feel we have friends among the people of these villages.”

The project, funded and sponsored by the Women’s Ministries department at the Adventist Church’s World Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, is part of a number of similar projects specifically aimed at helping women in developing countries, says Women’s Ministries director Ardis Stenbakken.

“Helping women with such vital skills as reading and writing truly does help in increasing opportunities and in personal fulfillment,” says Stenbakken. “It’s our privilege to work with these and other projects to provide educational advancement in many areas so that women in particular may achieve their potential, as God intends for each of us.”

A number of wives of the village chiefs also attended the program, reports Mayr, and one in particular was delighted that she was now able to help her own children with their homework.

“Another lady told us that as a child she had wanted to go to school, but her father had refused,” says Mayr. “When she got married, she wanted to join a literacy training program, but her husband refused, because the one teaching was a man. Now, after many years, she heard there was a literacy project and that the teachers were ladies, and her husband accepted for her to attend the course. She was very faithful and learned very fast. She feels so happy now that she has accomplished the desire of her heart-to learn how to read and write.”

Similar literacy programs run under the Women’s Ministries auspices of the Adventist Church are also ongoing in countries such as India, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and Sudan.