Adult Literacy in Nepal

buildOn’s Adult Literacy Program: Powering Gender Equity

buildOn schools and programs don’t just help children learn. In our Adult Literacy Program, adults in economically developing countries gain the skills they need–reading, writing, and numeracy–to lift their families and communities out of extreme poverty. 

This program accepts participants of all genders, but due to a variety of factors, the majority of participants–around 80%–are women. Our Adult Literacy Program, therefore, doesn’t just advance economic justice but gender equity as well!

One example is in the Nepali village of Shaktinagar. The Adult Literacy participants in Shaktinagar have put their newfound literacy, numeracy, and business skills into practice by launching or growing their own businesses through buildOn-sponsored grants.

Many participants have used their funds to launch vegetable farms or animal husbandry businesses such as rearing goats. Other women have started tailor shops where they make and mend clothing.

Forty-one-year-old Anita Tharu is a resident of Shaktinagar who lives with her husband, two children, and parents-in-law. She supports her family working as a tailor and gardener, while her husband contributes to their family through his work as a tractor driver. In addition to all the hats she wears, Anita is one of Shaktinagar’s most active Adult Literacy Program participants.

Her motivation to learn is rooted in the fact that she was unable to attend school as a child. Anita wanted to learn but had to do housework and take care of her younger siblings and cousins. When Anita turned eighteen, she married and supporting her household became her primary focus.

Briefly after buildOn completed a new primary school in Shaktinagar, the community’s Adult Literacy Program launched. Anita wasn’t able to attend the first year of classes, but, determined to learn, she caught up during the second year. Once she joined, she became a regular at the class who was eager to learn new things.

buildOn’s Adult Literacy Program has helped me professionally. I am planning to upgrade my tailor shop.

Anita Tharu, Adult Literacy Program participant

Anita has stated that, since completing the program, she has become more confident, has improved her math skills, and doesn’t have to ask others to take measurements or write the names of customers for her. She can read and write in both English and Nepali!

Anita is just one of the many thousands of women whose lives have been transformed through our Adult Literacy Program. But there are millions more who still lack access to it. In honor of Women’s History Month, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us reach even more women in need around the world.