There is much to be said for the liberating power of education, which begins with simply learning to read and write. This is a story Jeniffer Sindiri shared with us after she enrolled in a CWS adult literacy course in East Africa.
I enrolled in a literacy class in 2008, after attending a life-changing meeting that was convened by CWS. At my age, I was a little apprehensive as I thought school was only good for little children. But on meeting Magdalene Wamwea, one of Kenya’s pioneers in adult literacy, and on seeing the countless benefits I stood to gain, one thing was sure: I wanted to go to school. I wanted to learn to read and write.
I knew this wasn’t going to be easy with my husband especially because I had young children and a family to take care of not to mention the large herd of animals that was under my watch. Even with this, the new spirit in me kept nudging on. I eventually enrolled in adult class after long periods of negotiation. I would wake up before 5 a.m. every day to milk the cows and attend to family chores before joining adult class in the afternoon. Learning was fun. Everything has been a wonderful experience.
Adult learning has enabled me to interact with fellow women in the neighborhood in ways I had never imagined. Beyond reading and writing I have acquired useful business skills. Last year I asked my husband if I could join him in his retail shop and he accepted. I have gained more respect from him.
One year later, and the feeling has been awesome. My husband and I are among the successful business people in this area. This has earned me the position of secretary for Kanani Women’s Group. I didn’t know that in me lay such huge potential. Next year I plan to enroll for the advanced micro-enterprise training in Naivasha.
Jeniffer Sindiri, adult literacy class graduate, Kenya