Gorkha women learn to read and writeWomen in Namjung village have joined the adult literacy class run by the government’s community learning centre
Sharp at 11 am, a group of women above the age of 40 walk into a classroom. Tanka Maya Gurung, 66, is one of them. She settles down with her classmates, puts her pencil to paper and slowly writes her name out.
Women in Namjung village, Gorkha, have come out in droves to join the adult literacy class run by the government’s community learning centre.
“I never had a formal education so I never learnt to read and write. I want to be able to write my name. It would be a major achievement for me if I learn to sign my name,” Tanka Maya said.
Many women like Tanka Maya, who share a common goal of being literate, have taken the government’s initiative as a positive move.
Putali Gurung, 55, said that learning is not easy, but she’s willing to try. “Learning does not come easy, especially for someone my age. But I will not give up. I will struggle until I learn to read and write,” she said.
Since education for girls was not a priority back in the day when women like Tanka Maya and Putali Gurung were of school-going age, they never got the opportunity to learn to read and write, the two women said.
“In the past, nobody insisted on education for girls. Everybody was happy if women worked as cattle herders. It was widely believed that a daughter will eventually go to her husband’s house and herd cattle so there was no point in providing them with formal education,” said Man Kumari Gurung, 50, recalling the time when her family members were against sending her daughter to school. “I was insistent so I managed to send my daughter to school.”
One of the teachers in the classroom, Kumari Gurung, is happy with the strength of her students; both in number and spirit.
“It’s a pleasure to teach middle-aged women,” Gurung said. “In the first phase, I teach them to spell and write their name, address and profession. The district has been declared fully literate but some people still use their thumbprints. I hope with this initiative, that will change.”
The community learning centre classes started on May 9 and will run for three months. Bal Krishna Lamichhane, the coordinator of the Community Learning Centre in Gandaki Province, said that the Regional Education Directorate in the province started adult education classes to improve the literacy rate in the rural areas.