Literacy Training — the Life-transforming Tool That Is Impacting Communities

International Literacy Day underscores how, in helping people learn to read, GFA brings practical help and spiritual hope to many on the fringes of society

WILLS POINT, Texas — In many parts of the world, being unable to read isn’t just an inconvenience — it’s a potentially deadly handicap that Gospel for Asia (GFA) is working hard to help eradicate.

Though the organization’s life-changing literacy efforts go on quietly year-round, they are being brought into the spotlight as the United Nations’ International Literacy Day (Sept. 8) prompts action to bridge the reading gap for the world’s estimated 750 million illiterate young people and adults. This year’s theme is “Literacy and Skills Development.”

Without family or friends they can turn to for help, those who haven’t learned to read often don’t take advantage of what could be life-saving medicines. But not only their health is endangered. Illiteracy leaves people open to being deceived financially, sometimes ending up in bonded labor because of an accumulated debt, and limits their opportunities to find meaningful work.

Learning to read doesn’t just improve people’s quality of life physically, important as that is. It can also help them find spiritual hope and growth, as they are able to study the Bible for themselves.

Literacy helps more the individual who is taught to read and write, notes Gospel for Asia (GFA) founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan in his recent blog post “Enter into Their World.” “For one mother who learns to read, the impact is not only in her own life, but also in her children’s and her whole family’s lives,” he says. And “that woman will be an example to the other village women, who then may also have the courage to seek to learn to read, and the same thing will happen for them and their families.”

From some of the red light districts in urban centers to rural communities, Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported workers run literacy programs that open new doors across Asia for participants, who are predominantly women. One in three women in Asia is unable to read, with illiteracy rates highest among the poorest in society.

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Joel Vergara

I’m a computer engineering professional with a passion for excellence and success.