English Language Day is celebrated each year on April 23 – both William Shakespeare’s birthday and the date he died. Shakespeare has been called the greatest writer in the English language. A worthy number of people consider English as the unofficial “world language” because it is so widely used. English is the main language of business and communication so the learning of English is not only essential but also very significant.
At The Sreepur Village, we also give importance to the learning of English and offer our mothers and children literacy classes, which they attend at different levels.
According to data from UNESCO, the literacy rate in Bangladesh has risen remarkably over the past decade to an all-time high of 72.76% in 2016. While the male literacy rate is 75.62%, for females it is 69.9%. Compared to other countries, Bangladesh ranks 113th in the literacy rates.
Education is a basic human right, but for a developing nation like Bangladesh, attention needs to be paid to helping women through education. It is common practice for rural households not to send their young daughters to school as they believe a female is born solely to run the household, and in poverty stricken families, a girl’s education is not even considered. At The Sreepur Village whilst it is a great challenge to overcome illiteracy, we focus on giving our mothers a skill and a voice in which to live independently and confidently in today’s challenging society.
In December 2017, we had five literacy classes where 100 mothers got to learn the basics of the English Language. Seventeen of those mothers then attended Open University and two mothers took part in the Junior School Certificate examinations.
In October 2017, we initiated a programme called Sack Gardening, which directly teaches the mothers the letters, signs and words associated with agriculture. This is another way of how The Sreepur Village helps many poor and vulnerable women to achieve their literacy skills and in doing so provides them with a tool for maintaining a better life.
Ignorance and wrong beliefs surrounding disability, compounded with a negative and derogatory attitude of the community (including family members) have contributed to the marginal development in the disability sector in Bangladesh.