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Promoting Adult Literacy in Rwanda

Published 06/26/2013 by Global Communities

Promoting Adult Literacy in Rwanda

830 Ngororero adults acquire literacy skills
By Jean Pierre Bucyensenge, The New Times

68-year-old Mukamutamu proudly displays her literacy graduation certificate.
It was a bitter experience when Mukamutamu, a resident of Ngororero District, missed out on an opportunity to become a Gacaca judge.
The 68-year-old-woman had been entrusted by her village to be among those who would oversee trials of genocide suspects, under the semi-traditional judicial system that wrapped up activities last year.
But she lacked one key qualification: reading and writing skills. And that led to her disqualification.
After the bitter experience, the old woman decided to take literacy lessons to avoid a similar mishap.
“This particular experience gave me the courage to enroll for literacy classes,” Mukamutamu says as she proudly displays her certificate upon graduation.
“It was a bad experience that I could not afford to undergo again.”
After years of deliberation, Mukamutamu enrolled at a local adult literacy centre where she underwent intensive lessons in writing, counting and reading.
And she successfully completed the programme, along with 836 other adults drawn from all over Ngororero District. The group graduated on Tuesday.
Those who successfully completed the course, which was spearheaded by the Pentecostal Church of Rwanda, with support from the Global Communities/USAID Ejo Heza project, were awarded certificates.
“This marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life,” a proud Mukamutamu said as she held her certificate.
“I now have the capacity to read whatever I could not read in the past, be it books, newspapers, billboards and books.”
Vestine Dusabemariya, 42, another beneficiary, was as well all smiles when she received her certificate.

Graduates pose for a group photo with officials in Ngororero District. Photo credit: The New Times/JP Bucyensenge.
“What else can I do for my country and these people who helped me acquire [writing and reading skills? I will put them to good use for the benefit of my entire community,” she said, vowing to be a volunteer in her local community and educate others about various developmental and civic programmes.
“I will be reading books and other documents, and I shall share whatever I read with other people,” Dusabemariya vowed.
A survey carried out in 2010 in Ngororero District revealed that about 32, 000 people needed literacy courses, according to Petronille Musabyingabire, the district’s education officer.
During the 2012/2013 year, 5,800 adults have acquired reading and writing skills and efforts to educate others are ongoing, the officer said.
There are 50 adult literacy centres across Ngororero District.