The women who join DuHope come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common; they have very little if any formal education. The education priority when they joined was to teach them to read and write in Kinyarwanda. In 2017, the artisans began their Kinyarwanda literacy journey. With every artisan literate in Kinyarwanda by late 2021, they began learning English. Learning English has been a goal for them since they began working at DuHope and now, their work is starting to pay off.
The artisans have expressed a desire to learn English for many reasons. English will help them speak with customers at the shop, it will open up the opportunity to travel and get additional work. It also opens up another opportunity that they have been waiting for since they began the class; talking to Jamie Boiles, Executive Director of Belay Global, in English.
One day recently, Jamie entered the workshop, and the artisans were able to express—in English—their need for new chairs. Though a small request, the fact that the request was in English was enough to impress the DuHope staff and motivate the artisans to keep going. They are beginning to understand visitors who come to DuHope, before the translator has time to finish translating, and can respond in English. All of these are remarkable achievements for them.
Betty, one of the DuHope artisans, said, “English is important because I can look for additional work. I can read signs in English and talk to my children (who are learning English). In order to learn English, we need to put in a lot of effort. It takes a long time.” The artisans learn English for 2 hours once a week. Though learning a new language has not been easy for them, the artisans recognize the importance of English in their work. They are willing to put in the time and effort to continue learning.
We praise God that the women are reaching their goal and that they continue to feel motivated to learn.