Diakonia - People change the world
Amnena Al-Mojaher has gained confidence and self belief after participating in the programme of RDFL. Today, she can read and write, and thereby apply for jobs for herself and her children. Photo: RDFL

Lebanon: RDFL teaches women how to read and write

In many parts of Lebanon, families focus on getting their daughters married and their sons educated. Thus, illiteracy is common among women. But for the ones attending RDFL's trainings, life is changing.

4/9/2013 Publisher: Julle Bergenholtz

Fadia's life has changed

"My husband used to laugh at me going to the programme lessons… Now instead, he drops me off," says Fadia, smiling.

Fadia is participating in one of the groups lead by Diakonia’s partner organization RDFL. Previously, her only duty was raising the children and taking care of the house. Today things have changed.

It was Fadia’s daughters who encouraged her to join the programme. At first, her husband did not even know she was participating, and later on he made jokes about it. Today, he has experienced the benefits and positive changes for Fadia and the whole family, he is also convinced that all people, men and women, have the right to know how to read and write.

Reducing women's illiteracy in groups

The Women Literacy and Empowerment Program, initiated by Diakonia's partner organization RDFL, emphasizes on reducing illiteracy by forming literacy groups for women aged between 17 and 60 years old. The programme has so far targeted 70 women/girls per year. Vocational training sessions are conducted in parallel, with the aim of raising the social standard of poor families. The women and girls are trained in crafts such as sewing, embroidery, handcrafts, chocolate garnishing, etc.

The educational material used in RDFL's literacy classes and vocational sessions emphasizes on women’s rights. Issues that are covered are early marriage, reproductive rights, the right to choose a spouse, the right to education and the right to work, as well as economic rights, cultural and social rights, and gender equality.

Amena - from insecure to confident

“This program had changed my life, I am a different person now,” says Amena who is also participating in the activities. She is a widow and was detached from her children. The program made her confident and she has now been able to go and bring her son and daughter to live with her. '

She looks at life differently now; Amena participates in campaigns asking for women’s rights. She proudly tells about when she could read a vacancy announcement: “That encouraged me to enter the place and I managed to secure a job for my daughter!”

Helping to start their own businesses

Since many of the women who attended the classes asked to be assisted in starting their own business or finding a job, RDFL will increase its work with supporting income generating activities, together with a NGO focusing on micro financing.

Parallel to this, there will be an increased focus participation of women in campaigns against discriminatory laws against women. When the women join and learn about their rights they want to be a part of society and be active in decision making.