Among the number of privileges we often take for granted is a skill you’re using this very moment: literacy.
For those of us who are lucky enough to have an education, we often overlook how much we utilize reading and writing on a daily basis. To us, it is simply basic knowledge that one naturally picks up way back in elementary school. We foolishly forget that there is an overwhelming amount of women who dream of having the opportunity just to learn how to read and write.
The truth is, for many women, education is not something that is attainable. In certain areas of the world, girls grow up to believe that because they are a girl, they don’t deserve an education. They don’t serve a purpose outside of procreation and taking care of their husbands. These girls grow up believing that being born a girl is worthless.
This is exactly what Chuna Devi grew up believing. As a child in Nepal, she was not sent to school because her parents saw no need in a female having an education. Instead, she was left to look after the animals and was married off by the age of 16.
As a result, when her mother needed medical attention, Chuna Devi could not find the necessary doctor because she could not read the words and numbers on the hospital signs.
This is not uncommon for many women in South Asia. According to Le Globaliste, “of the world’s 493 million illiterate women, half live in South Asia. The region will see 130 million young girls married as children by 2030, and almost four in 10 South Asian women experience sexual violence in their lifetimes. As girls are forced to abandon their education, they become increasingly isolated.”
Now, at the age of 47 and with daughters of her own, what does Chuna Devi decide to do? Change her life.
As a mother of three raising her kids in Nepal, Chuna finally learned how to read at a READ center. With this knowledge, Chuna educates her own daughters and aims to spread the message that it is never too late to learn.
The official website for READ Global describes their centers and organization:
READ Centers offer educational trainings and resources in literacy, livelihood skills, health, leadership, women’s rights, the environment, and more. READ Global is nonprofit organization working in rural South Asia to build community library and resource centers (READ Centers) that offer training programs in education, economic empowerment, technology, and women’s empowerment. With each Center we seed a small business called a ‘sustaining enterprise’ that generates revenue to maintain the Center in the long run. Our Centers are owned and operated by our local partner communities.
Slowly, but surely, READ informs more and more women that being born as a girl is priceless. Watch the inspiring story below.