'I learned to read when I was in my 30s'
Lalu’s story | The difference that literacy can make
“My parents never sent me to school. They sent my two brothers, but they didn’t send me. I had to stay at home and looked after the animals; we had two buffalo, two cows and 10 goats. So I never learned to read or write. And then, when I was 10 years old, my mother got leprosy and my father left us [because of her leprosy].”
“So we came to Pokhara [Nepal] to the leprosy hospital. That’s where my mother became a Christian. And they also gave me work, helping to feed the patients. Later, I also knew that the gospel was true and I became a Christian. And all the time, I really wanted to read the Bible, but I couldn’t, because I couldn’t read. Then, when I was 25, I sent my daughter to school. She learned to read and write, and she tried to teach me but we didn’t have much free time. Then, finally, when I was in my 30s, I learned to read.
“Some friends from church and the teachers from a local school helped me to learn. They were so kind to me. I wrote my own name for the first time in my life. Then I walked to work, and I passed a sign that I’d seen every day, for years. For the first time, I could read the sign! I was so happy! Then I slowly began to read the Bible.
“I love the Psalms. My favourite is Psalm 25:1-2. ‘In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame …’ Before I became a Christian, I had felt a lot of shame, because of my family background, and my mother with leprosy, and I was uneducated, and we couldn’t get work. Back then, I always felt small. But when I read Psalm 25, I understood that I didn’t need to feel small, and I didn’t need to feel shame anymore …”