India: Day Six
The literacy class tonight was really cool. It was inspiring to see so many women becoming empowered to read and live without fear.
Before they came to the literacy class, these women were basically invisible in their society - they aren't valued for the important job they do raising their children and keeping a home. In fact, they are too often treated more like servants than mothers and wives.
It's so sad that parents don't even think it's worth teaching their daughters to read and write - that it's a waste of money!
I could never imagine thinking that my own daughter wasn't worth educating...
This simply reminds me that what God is doing in India is so important. To value each and every human being as important in the sight of God - and therefore important in our sight - truly reminds me of how great we have it.
One of the sayings they teach the women is "Stop Borrowing - Start Saving." It was very interesting to watch the portion of the literacy class focused on savings.
The way it works is that every night when they come to class, the women are invited to deposit whatever they can save into a jar (it is totally voluntary). Every day the literacy teacher records what each woman deposits, often just a few paise coins, which are worth less than a penny. At the end of the literacy class, the women are then given back their money.
Over the year-long class, some of them have saved up to 400, 600, maybe even 1,000 rupees. [$10, $15, and $25 respectively.] Some of them have never held this much money (remember, most families are earning less than $1.25 a day!). It teaches them that no matter how poor they are, they can save. They don't have to be in debt; they don't have to be in over their heads. It is a lesson we in America need to learn just as much.
It reminds me of what the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for those who love have fulfilled the law."