Mothers of the Forest Rusinga Island: The Positive Impact of Literacy and Numeracy Classes

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In my capacity as facilitator of the Mothers of the Forest women’s empowerment group on Rusinga Island, may I begin by thanking all the donors at Word Forest for enabling us to take literacy and numeracy classes, as well as having our regular meetings. 

We feel truly blessed that you’re giving such consideration to our physical well being and good mental health. Just like the other Mothers in the Garashi area in Coast Province, a great many of our Mothers never had an opportunity to go to school as young girls. They felt education had indeed passed them by.

This plan to offer us literacy and numeracy classes could not have come at a better time than this. Literacy classes will be a precious resource and a valuable source of power for we women, specifically in relation to Word Forest activities but also in our everyday lives. Regarding the numeracy classes, our feelings are much the same. As well as making our relationships with our children better and stronger because we will be able to understand what activities they have been doing at school, it will also enable us all to focus with more clarity on matters about reforestation, conservation and community development. 

The women in our group agree they are in dire need of this knowledge and they are very excited about receiving the lessons. They feel the lessons will categorically enhance the areas of life highlighted below:

General Education 

Literacy and numeracy classes can empower women by providing them with essential skills that are needed day to day. Taking one example of shopping, it can be challenging when you cannot read or do basic maths. Being able to add up properly will be an absolute blessing. This ability will equip us all and enable us to make better informed decisions in our family set ups. The lessons will also improve our general well-being and mental health. They’ll also improve our involvement with our local communities and ultimately, I believe it will help us help the global environment too.

Environmental Awareness 

This education can incorporate environmental literature, teaching women about the importance of forests and conservation. This knowledge will definitely encourage women to actively participate more fully in Word Forest’s reforestation initiatives.

Community Engagement

The classes will serve as a platform for women to discuss and plan community initiatives related to conservation and sustainable living. They can learn how to organise, advocate and collaborate far more effectively within their communities. They will also enable us to be teachers within our local communities and it is exciting to think we might be able to pass on skills and knowledge to others.

Storytelling and Advocacy

Through both sets of classes, the women in our group will be able to learn how to express their thoughts, feelings and experiences through writing and storytelling. This powerful skill can be used to advocate for environmental issues too. It can also be utilised to share their community’s unique perspectives and to raise awareness about the various challenges they face.

In summary, these life-changing literacy and numeracy classes you’ve gifted to us will go on to play a critical role in empowering us all in a variety of ways. In this digital era, with advancement in each sector, we will be able to participate in life more fully, we will be able to gain and share this necessary knowledge with others too! Our expertise and our skill sets will grow and we will be able to achieve our goals as individuals and as a group, because knowledge is power!

Joy Maseno
Facilitator of Mothers of the Forest Rusinga Island

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