In January 2018, Alfalit International’s Executive Director, Catherine Penrod and Program Director, Maria Teresa de Almeida, visited Guinea Bissau to visit the literacy and basic education programs, meet with the staff and oversee staff training.
Guinea Bissau is among the poorest countries in Africa. The country has massive foreign debt and a dearth of basic social services. Long-term economic investment is impeded by political instability and regional conflict.
The vital cashew nut crop provides a modest living for most of those involved in farming.
According to UNESCO, illiteracy among adults is about 55%, with female illiteracy as high as 70%. Alfalit recognizes the opportunity to improve lives and leave a lasting legacy in the country.
Catherine and Teresa visited various Alfalit literacy centers in different parts of the country including in Bissau, Quinhámel, Safim, Buba, Bafatá and Bissorã. They found the facilitators very committed and the students eager to learn and attentive. The students admitted that they were ashamed of not being able to read. Alfalit staff will continue to urge them on and find ways to help them build their self-esteem.
As students work during the day, most classes are held during the evening and are conducted so as to not interfere with the harvest season. In most remote areas, there is no electricity.
Most students walk long distances, as much as five miles each away to get to the classes. While Alfalit is a faith-based organization with missionary roots, our classes, as always, remain welcoming to students of all faiths who are keen on learning.
Alfalit Guinea-Bissau is proud to be currently teaching over 800 students. Please email email@example.com learn more about the program in the country or if you would like to adopt a classroom of any size. The need is immense and the opportunities limitless!