Suffering comes in many forms. The personal stories shared with us from the Beacon of Light Literacy program in Pakistan demonstrate the release from past hardship and pain which can come when people learn to read and write. Literacy helps with small things, like reading the cost of a packet of flour. It also helps with the big things such as an entrée to the formal job market, instead of a life trapped in servitude.
Amna is enslaved. She works in the brick kiln industry in Pakistan and spends her days making mud bricks. She is married and has three little boys; the youngest is only ten
In February, she joined Bible literacy classes and became a student of the Beacon of Light literacy program for women.
“When I joined the class, my son was three months old. It was hard for me to manage my work, home, little children and learning at the same time – but I wanted to be able to read,” Amna explains.
Not long after Amna started the classes, her job stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She was grateful when the literacy teacher committed to keeping the classes going. “She gave us face masks and hand sanitisers and asked us to keep our distance. She wanted me to follow the rules to keep my baby safe.”
“Now I am glad that I have had much time to revise my daily lessons. I am thankful to the Lord that I can read my lesson book very easily now. I am glad that there is no-one affected with COVID-19 in our area.”
Shaping mud into bricks is an arduous, repetitive process. The work is physically hard and most workers are trapped in a perpetual cycle of debt that is often passed on through generations of the same family.
Pray Amna’s new skills will enable her to find other work that is safer and less gruelling.