Women participate in an adult literacy program in Sandikharka, Argakhanchi in this recent photo. (Arjun Bhushal/Republica)
ARGHAKHACHI, Jan 6: Fulmaya Chhetri, 63, had a great regret in life that she never got chance to go to school and learn - Ka, Kha. Dying as an illiterate was what she was loathing the most. However the local of Sandhikharka - 13 has a reason to rejoice now. After joining adult literacy classes run jointly by the government and non government organizations in her locality, Chhetri has learnt to read and write.
“I can read and write without much difficulty now. It has helped me recite the religious verses. I'm really happy,” said an elated Chhetri. “I am not going to die illiterate!” she added.
Kamala Ranabhat, Chhetri's neighbor, is no less happy. She stated that there can be no age to learn new things. “We can learn things that we want to learn at any age. And learning to read and write, who would not love to do that? We are really lucky about it,” she said.
According to Ranabhat, learning to write was very challenging. She believes, adults learn very slow compared to children. “It was okay while learning to read. But when we had to write, it was really very tough,” she said.
Besides Ranabhat and Chhetri, their learning group has 28 women members. Their informal class has been running for nearly a year now. The year - long program is expected to empower women, most of who are elderly. And the participants feel that the goal has been met!
“Yes, literacy is power. I feel differently since when I have been able to read and write,” said yet another member of the group Kunda Devi Chhetri. “I can use mobile. I can deal with a lot of things independently. See, not knowing how to read keeps you lame and mute,” she added.
In the literacy class, women have also learnt basic mathematics skills along with some other practical skills that can make life easier. “We leant about banking, nutrition and other health related issues, mathematics and so on,” informed Kunda Devi, while adding that nowadays she never misses to check expire date on commodities before buying.
Kalpana Chhetri, a teacher for the group said that the program has been very beneficial to the women. Nita Duwadi, program officer of the professional literacy program, said that the program is implemented in 16 VDCs of the district and informed that it might expand to other areas in the future.