Seventy percent of women who live in and around the tea estates of Assam, India, are illiterate.
That's roughly 2 million women.
It's a sobering statistic on its own. But consider what else that illiteracy means: a lack of economic opportunity, malnutrition, poor family health, and less schooling for children.
So in 2009, Mercy Corps started the Women's Empowerment for Literacy program. In the first eight months, we educated 300 women in basic literacy skills. But we succeeded in doing a lot more than that.
Becoming literate gave the women improved status in society — their status as a mother, as a person in the community and as a wife shot up. Women became more confident and better agents of change in their communities.
This program is not just about women teaching women, but women empowering women. All our educators are young women from the community who've also been transformed by their experiences. They're earning money for the first time, becoming more confident and building invaluable leadership skills.
We started with a literacy program, but we discovered it has the potential to not only change lives, but change our society.
Powell's is supporting our efforts to help even more women. You can make it possible. Just $50 provides an eight-month training to one woman on Assam's tea estates — and a chance at a better life.
Visit Mercy Corps to learn more. Thank you for reading.