Thursday, 20 September 2007

Women's Reading Clubs in Malawi

I've had the BookAid logo in my sidebar for a long time now. BookAid promotes literacy in developing countries by creating reading and learning opportunities, working mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malawi is one of the 10 poorest countries and it is estimated that 54% of women there cannot read. Additionally 14% of 15-49 year olds have HIV/AIDS.

The Malawi National Library Service runs the groups to encourage newly literate women. Through the clubs women can access information on health, education, family welfare and training.

Books are provided in Chichewa, Tumbuka and English. Cash is provided for the purchase of books in Chichewa and Tumbuka while BookAid provides reading matter in English from their stocks of donated books.

The benefits to women are:

  • they read and learn about managing small businesses, income generating activities as well as cooking and sewing
  • some pick up their education again
  • they learn about HIV/AIDS, both its prevention and the care of people who are infected
  • they gain some measure of independence
  • they gain confidence and camaraderie

A slideshow is available here, which should be embedable but every time I try, the window closes and I have to start all over again!

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