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2/14/2011

ProLiteracy Helps Learners Write Love Letters in Colombia

International

ProLiteracy Helps Learners Write Love Letters in Colombia

Pueblorico is a small town about three hours from Medellin nestled in the heart of the Colombia’s mountains. Its name—translated as “plentiful town”—comes from its lucrative mines...and its coffee. Its high mountain location is an ideal climate for cultivating coffee, and many people rely on the coffee farms for employment. Because employment is dictated by the harvest, there is usually only steady work for four months out of the year—from October to January.

ProLiteracy has been supporting literacy and micro enterprise projects in Pueblorico for more than 10 years. Alesha Anderson, international programs coordinator at ProLiteracy, visited Pueblorico in January. She visited a literacy class with 18 participants of all different ages—middle-aged and elderly men and women, young boys and girls and teenagers.

“Many of the learners expressed their gratitude for the literacy classes and shared how their improved literacy skills are benefitting their families,” says Anderson. “Two couples even attend class together, every night for three hours. This is particularly significant because in some rural communities in Colombia, the traditional belief is that women don’t need to receive an education.”

“My wife and I are learning together,” said one adult learner, Leonelio. “We are both in fifth grade and hope to finish our primary education. My favorite topic to learn about is math. I love numbers!”

Another adult learner, Paolo, laughed and said: “Now that my wife and I are learning to read and write, we can write each other love notes.” Paolo continued: “I work all day in the coffee fields and sometimes I come home and I’m so tired. But I always push myself to attend class at night. It’s very important for my wife and me to learn together. We help each other.”

Literacy classes in Pueblorico are reaching marginalized people who have had very little opportunity for education due to lack of resources or life circumstances. The chance to gain an education is bringing beauty and pride back to individuals and their families. Literacy is giving people a place to come together and enjoy learning new things.

 

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