International Literacy Day

Lamiya’s Story

It’s tough to be a girl in some rural cultures of northern Cameroon.

Chores in the house and garden make up your entire existence. You do whatever you are told, learn the role of a wife and mother, and simply wait to be married off. While you are kept at home, your brothers head to school and learn to read and write. Money is scarce; why waste it to educate a mere housewife?

But hopefully you won’t prove totally useless. Your parents may be able to make some money by arranging your marriage, perhaps even while you are still a baby. Older men are often keen to buy an additional wife, with the girl having no say in the transaction. Or, if you’re lucky, someone might kidnap you in the market place before you reach your mid-teens (an accepted way to find a wife in some areas).

Lamiya Elisabeth is a mother who used to send only her sons to the local school. Today, however, she is emphatic about equal rights to education for boys AND girls. “My daughters must also go to school, just like my sons! I have now decided to work harder to raise more money for this.”

What happened to change her thinking? A Functional Literacy course was held in her community, led by a local OneBook project. Lamiya gained insight into many practical issues: finance management, writing a will, composting techniques, health and hygiene, and the importance of equal education—to name just a few. Her family will never look back.

You can help more people like Lamiya find dignity and hope in their own language by making a donation to support literacy programs in Africa and Asia today!