On August 31st 2021, our artisans at DuHope reached a long-awaited goal. For the past three years, our artisans have been working towards being able to start learning English. The women at DuHope come to us with very little, if any, formal education. Most cannot read or write, and none can speak English when they begin our program. The desire to learn English surprised the management at DuHope. They were impressed by the women’s eagerness to learn. However, given the literacy challenges the women faced, they asked them to first learn to read and write in Kinyarwanda. English class would be a goal for them to aspire to upon passing their literacy tests. In 2017, the cohort began their first literacy class in Kinyarwanda, with the prospect of English class adding to their motivation.
In August 2021, DuHope hired a social worker to teach the women English and by the end of the month, they had their first class. This new class marks an important milestone for the cohort: every member in the cohort is now literate in Kinyarwanda.
In Rwanda, English is the primary language used among expats and it is often a prerequisite to finding employment and pursuing higher education. The English classes are a blessing, as they will remove yet another barrier to our artisan’s success and progress. For those in the cohort who have part time jobs in addition to their work at DuHope, this class will help them communicate with their employers and offer them an opportunity to expand their network to the expat community in Rwanda.
Some of the women who sell their products face difficulties communicating with customers and require an interpreter or mediator to help them communicate. The hope is that the women will leave this 9-12 month course confident that they will not need a mediator to talk with their potential customers. This also opens the door for DuHope to connect the women with their network of potential customers and partners.
We praise God for this goal achieved and pray for the women to continue to feel motivated to develop their professional skills.