• Despite Failing Eyesight, Elderly Women In Kerala Learn To Read And Write

    A group of elderly women in Kerala is proving that age is no bar for learning. Backed by the state government’s  ’Aksharasagaram’ project, these women are smashing patriarchy by attending classes that teach them how to read and write.

    The project, implemented by Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) in association with the Fisheries Department, encouraged ninety per cent of women from coastal areas in different age-groups to sit for the Literacy examination.

    “This has given us a lot of positive energy and we are hopeful more women from the Muslim community will come for the classes’, PS Sreekala, KSLMA director said, referring to Muslim-dominated area Malappuram where women attending classes is a reason to celebrate.

    Expressing her desire to study, one of the women says,”I want to study till I breathe my last.”

    “The literacy mission inspectors go to their homes, anganwadis or even at the beaches to take classes where they can attend without any inhibition,” – Prashant, state coordinator

    The project operates in three phases. In the first phase, students are taught to read and write the alphabet and taught simple mathematics. In the second phase, subjects like social studies, Malayalam, Basic sciences are taught along with the English alphabet. In the final phase, the students will be acquainted with Hindi alphabet.

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    The students had to appear for three-month long classes, roughly about 100 hours at places convenient for them.

    Through its programme, the government aims to combat illiteracy among 18 lakh illiterates and 12 lakh neo-illiterates living in the state.

    “The literacy mission inspectors go to their homes, anganwadis or even at the beaches to take classes where they can attend without any inhibition,” Prashant, state coordinator of the project, said.

    While the enthusiasm that women show towards studying is commendable, their deteriorating eyesight is a big obstacle preventing them from giving their cent per cent. The fisheries department, however, is trying to get rid of the obstacle by organising eye-camps and distributing free spectacles for them. The department also distributes free textbooks and notebooks to the ones that show the maximum interest in studies.

    Through its programme, the government aims to combat illiteracy among 18 lakh illiterates and 12 lakh neo-illiterates living in the state.

    Empowering women by making them literate will go a long way in elevating their status and making them independent.

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