Adult literacy programme teaches thousands of adults to be free
About 18% of adult men and 36% of adult women in Egypt are illiterate: more than a quarter of the population cannot read or write. These men and women have difficulty resolving their personal and family problems, let alone fully participate in social, economic, cultural and political life.
The Caritas Basic Education Programme supports adults all over Egypt to break the cycle of ignorance, poverty and disease. Our aim is to help all Egyptians realize their full potential and become active contributors to their communities.
The Caritas adult literacy programme is based on the dialogue method developed by Paulo Freire, which advocates the liberating of poor people through education.
We form groups of 15 to 20 adults that engage in interactive community learning. Each group has it’s own monitor (teacher). We link the learning process to real-life experiences, by focusing on words that touch the persons’ lives and society. This enables them to transfer from a theoretical level of dialog to a more practical one, in a more active and progressive way.
Since 1972 Caritas has been involved in the Basic Education. Between 1985 till 2016, over 25,000 classes have taken place, reaching some 425,000 adults, of which more than 84% female. We trained more than 2,600 literacy monitors, supervisors and coordinators.
In addition, Caritas adopts a ‘peers educational approach’. Based on the aid that students can give to their family members or neighbours who are eager to learn and who can’t frequent the literacy class.
More than language
The programme is not limited to teaching reading and writing skills alone, but takes an integral approach to learning. We cover a wide range of topics, including:
Experiences form participants and teachers
“Participating in this class, opened the doors of hope for me as a bird extending its’ wings to gather all the illiterates.”
Theresa’s family is very poor, and this impacted her life and education severely. However Theresa insisted on joining a class to learn sewing in addition to the literacy class. She mastered this craft and started to teach others. She is now marketing her own products through the productive family’s project.
“I realize now that time is like money and could be invested. Moreover, I feel actually very ambitious after I knew that my colleague became a lawyer.”
“I learned from the health awareness how to prepare for immediate help (medics) and from handicrafts lessons, I learned how to make useful things out of recycled paper. I also learned the value of trees and how much it is important to plant them for air purification.”
“Before joining the classes I used to be angry and unable to control my feelings in every difficult situation that I have to face with my husband or with others. However the dialogue in the classroom, discussing our problems and the sharing of our experiences taught me many things and made me apply them into my life. I am trying to deal more calmly with difficult situations even if the problem is very serious.”
“I have learnt many things at class and when I applied them I felt that I am of a value to the society and I am not just a woman, got married and have children.”
“My project expanded to be three projects as I established a partnership with my sister and my sister in law. We live in the same house, this strengthened our relationships. We were helping and encouraging each other rather than fighting. This made our relationship even stronger. Our husbands are very happy because we help them in earning our living expenses.”
A monitor from Luxor: “Working with Caritas helped me to open my eyes and to see the community needs, I become more eager to listen to others and respect their opinions. The most important thing I have learned is how to establish a dialogue with people.”
Area Coordinator in Aswan: “Caritas has completely changed my life to the extent that I managed to educate my daughters on freedom, confidence, dialogue, and responsibilities.”
Area Coordinator from Sohag: “My life totally changed since I worked with Caritas. I felt the need to develop myself. I became more open to other people and I decided to continue my education and got my B.A, in Sociology. I feel like I was born again when I joined Caritas.”
Facts & figures
Alexandria, Cairo, Minia, Assuit, Sohag, Kena, Luxor and Aswan.
The literacy programme started in 1972 and is ongoing.
The average budget is around €500,000 per year.
Contact: Salah Sebeh
Head of Basic Education
T: +(202)24310201 & +(202) 24310290